The Third Branch
DCAs depart in Districts Two, Eight
The Wisconsin court system lost two well-regarded district court administrators (DCAs) this summer. District Two DCA Andrew Graubard and District Eight DCA John Powell both departed after relatively brief tenures to take advantage of new opportunities.
District Two Court Administrator Andrew Graubard (left) was feted at an Aug. 1 party with judges, clerks of court and court staff from Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties. Pictured with Graubard are Judge Wilbur W. Warren III, Kenosha County, and Deputy Chief Judge Allan "Pat" Torhorst, Racine County.
Graubard heads east
District Two Court Administrator Andrew Graubard has moved back to the East Coast after he accepted a position as trial court administrator for the New Jersey court system. Graubard, who grew up in Philadelphia and attended college in Miami, had worked in the Miami court system for 24 years prior to coming to Wisconsin to serve as a district court administrator three years ago.
Graubard said he looks forward to the higher level of responsibility and challenges his new position brings, but will miss the people he had the opportunity to work with in Wisconsin.
"I thought everybody was terrific," Graubard said. "From the district court administrators and judges, to the clerks and staff. It was just a great group of people."
Graubard said he appreciated how welcoming everyone was when he first started, and was impressed by the high level of professionalism the court system staff exhibited. And the feeling was mutual.
"Andrew was here just three years, but in that brief time he became very instrumental in court operations in our three counties," Chief Judge Mary K. Wagner said. "He jumped in with both feet, and his participation was the key to success for many court projects. We wish him the best. His many talents will make him an asset to any court system in the nation."
In 2010, Graubard stepped in to the district court administrator position after Kerry Connelly retired. Connelly is now filling in on a part-time basis.
Powell moves west
DCA John Powell, who began work in the Eighth District in March 2010, accepted a post in his former home state of Oregon. His last day in Green Bay was Sept. 13.
Chief Judge Donald R. Zuidmulder said Powell would be greatly missed.
"I assumed the chief judgeship without a DCA," said Zuidmulder, who had interim DCA coverage when he began his term as chief. "Imagine my delight in being gifted with a DCA who had experience as both a clerk of court and a court administrator, and who had served in the special forces. Now, anyone who knows John knows he might not look the part of a special forces operative, but it doesn't take long to appreciate the breadth of his skills. From our earliest conversations, he and I have been a team. I believe the Eighth Judicial District is a better place because John Powell served here. He will be greatly missed by all, but especially by me."
Powell focused on court security in his tenure in District Eight, which is comprised of Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie and Waupaca counties. He said he is proud to have "active and functioning" court security committees throughout the district. He also noted that District Eight has established several problem-solving courts in recent years, notably a mental health court in Outagamie County and veterans courts in Brown and Outagamie. Brown is also exploring a mental health court.
Among the highlights of the job, besides the opportunity to work with Zuidmulder and the other District Eight judges and District Administrative Assistant Abby Griepentrog, whom Powell described as "invaluable," has been working with the other district court administrators.
"That small group is so professional, close-knit and supportive," he said. "You rarely find a group of people who work that well together."
In Oregon, Powell will serve as a trial court administrator and clerk of court in two rural counties with a total of five judges. The job is similar to the one he served in prior to moving to Wisconsin.
Powell said he and his wife, Leslie Jacobsen, a nurse, have both missed the Northwest.
"We've had a great experience in Wisconsin, and I've become a Packer fan – which is sort of a requirement of the job," Powell said. "We will miss Wisconsin and all the friends we have here, but we are looking forward to our return to Oregon."
District Eight Court Administrator John Powell (front row, second from left) received a warm send-off at a party with judges from District Eight. In the photo are (back row, left to right): Circuit Court Judges William M. Atkinson, Brown County; Michael T. Judge, Oconto County; Raymond S. Huber and John P. Hoffmann, Waupaca County; and Mitchell J. Metropulos and Gregory B. Gill Jr., Outagamie County. Front row, left to right: Chief Judge Donald R. Zuidmulder, Brown County; District Court Administrator John Powell; Circuit Court Judges James A. Morrison, Marinette County; Peter C. Diltz, Door County; and Dennis J. Mleziva, Kewaunee County.