Farewell to the Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology
Dear colleagues: I regret to inform FACT members of the dissolution of FACT as an organization.
For the past eleven years, FACT has existed as a Special Committee of the National Association for Court Management, pursuant to a Joint Resolution adopted by both entities in 2003. Upon assuming the position of FACT Chair last summer I became aware that our relationship and reputation with NACM had deteriorated. The FACT Steering Committee met in December in Las Vegas and adopted a plan to “get FACT back on track” including a proposal to NACM to strengthen our relationship by making FACT a Standing Committee, rather than a Special Committee, of NACM. I met with the NACM Board on Saturday, February 6th in Austin at the NACM midyear meeting to discuss our proposal. While the meeting was personally cordial, at its close the NACM Board met in executive session and not only rejected our proposal for a closer relationship, but voted to terminate the 2003 Joint Resolution as well. The NACM President, with whom we had worked in fashioning the proposal for a stronger relationship, reported that the NACM Board perceived no value from a continuing relationship with FACT.
The following day, the FACT Steering Committee discussed the options available to us, including alternative organizational “homes” that we might seek, including incorporation as a separate 501(c)(3) corporation. We concluded that if our principle customer – the courts community as represented by NACM – saw no value in the role that we play it makes no sense to continue to exist under some other organizational arrangement. We decided to disband FACT. Representatives of NACM’s leadership attended that meeting.
The Steering Committee discussed options for distributing FACT’s assets. We resolved to recommend to the NACM Board that it return all dues payments made by private and public sector FACT members over the past twelve months and contribute the remainder of our current account balance to the National Center for State Courts as an unrestricted gift for the NCSC President to use as she sees fit. We also recommended that FACT’s other assets – banner and vendor show booth – be donated to the National Center for use or disposal.
I urge our private sector members to join IJIS and to participate in its Courts Advisory Committee, having that organization serve in the future as the industry working group for vendors providing technology services to the courts community. The cost of membership in IJIS is based on a company’s annual revenues, but the average annual dues are roughly $2,500 per organization. Numerous representatives of member organizations can participate in various IJIS committees and working groups. Public sector FACT members may also become associate members of FACT which includes newsletters and updates regarding the organization’s activities.
The FACT website will continue to exist through the end of its current hosting contract in August. However, FACT will otherwise cease to function with the distribution of this notice.
I wish to express my personal appreciation for the contributions of the previous FACT chairs – Vicky Cashman, Ron Warfield, Chris Crawford, and Marlene Martineau – who devoted extraordinary amounts of personal and company time and energy to advance the interests of the courts and the technology vendors who support them. I am proud to have been an active member of FACT over much of its 26 year history and regret that my efforts to continue its existence have not borne fruit.
John M. Greacen