T

he Judicial Assistants Association of Florida was formed in 1988 as a result of several Judicial Assistants throughout the State realizing a need for formal training and education to enhance their skills and knowledge in the performance of their jobs. The organizational conference/meeting was held in Orlando in June 1988. At that time it was decided that JAAF would provide two educational conferences each year. Our members are a unique class of women and men comprised of County, Circuit, Supreme Court and District Court of Appeal Judicial Assistants. Several of our charter members are still very active in the Association and have held offices.

The membership elects a President, President-Elect, Treasurer and Recording Secretary for two-year terms. We established bylaws and a Board of Directors which include the Officers, the standing chairs, a circuit representative from each of the 20 circuits, one appellate representative from each District Court of Appeal and one representative from the Supreme Court. We have standing committees which include conference membership, legislative/budget, education, newsletter and bylaws. We also have a parliamentarian and follow Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. The Judicial Assistants involved in JAAF volunteer their valuable time and efforts for the benefit of all Judicial Assistants in the State of Florida.

Linda Stone, Becky Bichard, Deb Ryan, Judge Mark H. Mahon, PK Jameson, Judge Belvin Perry, Alison Dudley, Lisa Shorten, Laurie McGee, Terry Muskett, Christi Crooks, Connie Ashmore

 

Lisa Shorten, Laurie McGee, Monica Gabbard, Nicki Offermann

JAAF currently provides one educational conference each year for all Judicial Assistants. The host circuits provide the educational speakers for these conferences along with the assistance of JAAF. The programs include a wide range of topics and experts, including ethics, legislative reforms and new laws, security issues, criminal and civil procedures, business writing and grammar, domestic violence, stress reduction, tenant/landlord evictions, drug and alcohol training, computer programs and new technology and probate/guardianship procedures to name a few.

We have also had speakers from the Office of the State Court Administrator and the Florida Retirement System regarding benefits and retirement at most of the conferences.

In addition to providing educational programs, JAAF has worked towards raising salaries to be competitive with other government agencies and the private sector. In 1995, a joint effort involving our legislative consultant, JAAF, the Chief Justice and Office of the State Courts Administrator were able to secure raises for Judicial Assistants in 1996 and 1997. Lisa Goodner, State Court Administrator and her staff continue to provide support and cooperation in education, pay issues and benefits. One of the most important benefits Judicial Assistants receive from the State of Florida is low cost healthcare premiums (single or family coverage) and free disability insurance.

Meeting other JAs from around the State is a wonderful, mind-expanding experience, not to mention visiting the many beautiful cities in our State. Along with hard work, we have fun! Many of us have become friends and look forward to seeing each other at the conferences.There is always valuable information we learn and take back to our jobs to share with our fellow JAs and our Judges.
 

PRESIDENTS

Verna Williford, 9th  Orlando - 1988-1989

Chris Steichen, 15th W. Palm Beach - 1990-1991

Sherri Morton, 6th St. Petersburg - 1992-1993

Linda Maina, 17th Fort Lauderdale -1994-1995

Carol Royal, 4th Jacksonville -1996-1997

Carol Lassiter, 15th W. Palm Beach -1998-1999

Deborah Ryan, 18th Viera - 2000-2002

Tami Weeks, 1st Pensacola - 2002-2004

Linda Maina, 17th Fort Lauderdale - 2004-2006

Deborah Ryan, 18th Viera - 2006-2008

Mary Carrier, 10th Bartow - 2008-2010

Jeri Evans, 6th Clearwater - 2010-2010

Becky Bichard, 9th Orlando - 2010-2014

Connie Ashmore, 6th Dade City - 2014-2016

Monica Gabbard, 18th Viera - 2016 - present