County administrator receives highest court management award

Superior Court Administrator Andra Motyka has been selected to receive the Award of Merit from the National Association of Court Managers next month in Chicago. “The award is the highest honor NACM bestows on individuals,” said Judge Stephanie Arend.
The annual award is presented to an individual working in court administration who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in the advancement of the ideals and principles of modern judicial management and professional court management.

Motyka, who came to Pierce County in 1995 from Erie County, PA, where she was District Court administrator, was nominated by the Pierce County Superior Court judges. In the nomination letter, Presiding Judge Thomas Larkin said Motyka provided leadership, supported the court’s independence, promoted research and employed technology to improve court administration.

Motyka, who is a member of the Pierce County Trial Court Coordination Council, works with her Pierce County District Court and Tacoma Municipal Court counterparts and the presiding judges of all three courts. “The first project the council assumed was the brainchild of Andra: the creation of public court calendar monitors, much like one sees at an airport, in our courthouse,” Larkin said. The monitors include the calendars for each of the courts and have proved to alleviate a great deal of public confusion and also direct people to the correct locations.

On leadership and services to the public, “To accomplish quality of delivery of services, Andra works within a team management concept conducting annual staff retreats, cross training for all staff in all areas and encouraging staff educational development,” he said. She led development of a pro tem judge program that helped reduce the court’s civil case load.

Concerning court independence, “Andra interfaces with members of other branches of government on almost a daily basis. In doing so, she speaks authoritatively and respectfully. She has been able to secure funding and other achievements for the court without subjecting the court to management or oversight by the other branches of government,” he said.

Motyka works with the five-member executive committee and presiding judge in managing Pierce County’s 22-judge trial court and seven court commissioners. She supervises the court administration staff’s work including civil and criminal trial assignments, summoning, qualifying and calling jurors; providing foreign language and sign interpreters; assigning, scheduling and docketing proceedings for the court commissioners; general office purchasing; and providing computer support. She also supervises development of the court’s $13 million budget and monitors expenses, personnel matters and space and facilities issues.