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DIY Star Award Recipient
March 2014


 Tompkins County Family Court Clerk's Office Staff



Congratulations Family Court Stars!

On March 27, 2014, the Tompkins County Family Court Clerk's Office Staff received the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program's prestigious DIY Star Award becoming the first Family Court outside New York City to achieve this honor. The Tompkins staff won the award for their exceptional efforts facilitating usage of the Family Court DIY Form programs. A ceremony was held in the Tompkins County Supreme Court courtroom where Chief Clerk Cheryl Lidell-Obenauer, Deputy Chief Clerk Adel Terris, Court Assistants Steven Tillotson, Janet Wiese and Michele Abbott, and Senior Court Office Assistants Colleen Tubbs and Maryett Malchak, were recognized for their contribution.

Sixth Judicial District Administrative Judge Robert C. Mulvey, Tompkins Family Court Judge Joseph Cassidy and NYS Courts Access to Justice Program DIY Outreach Coordinator Tracy McNeil, Esq., all spoke about the recipient's outstanding efforts furthering equal access to justice for unrepresented litigants. Judge Mulvey spoke about how proud he was of the Family Court staff to earn this award when they have been short-staffed for so long. Justice Fern A. Fisher, Director of the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program, presented the award via video conference from New York County. She stated, "Tompkins Family Court personnel often meet litigants who are grappling with difficult and stressful family problems. The staff’s effort to assist unrepresented litigants is most deserving of this award." District Executive Karen Ambrozik was also present to relay her congratulations. Chief Counsel Rochelle Klempner and Attorney Technologist Sun Kim from the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program attended the presentation via video conference, as did Principal LAN Administrator Pete Nowacki. A reception in the staff's honor was held following the ceremony.

Judge Robert C. Mulvey,  Cheryl Lidell-Obenauer, Karen Ambrozik, and Judge Joseph Cassidy
Judge Robert C. Mulvey, Cheryl Lidell-Obenauer,
Karen Ambrozik, and Judge Joseph Cassidy

The Tompkins Family Court Clerk’s Office Staff earned the DIY Star Award because of their commitment to facilitating usage of the Family Court DIY Form programs. Two years ago, Tompkins County Family Court Chief Clerk Cheryl Lidell-Obenauer requested that computers be installed in the Clerk’s Office for litigants to access the DIY Form programs and had her staff trained on all the DIY programs to better assist litigants. In 2013, over 85% of the litigants using the programs stated that they were referred to the programs by a court employee, whether they used the program at home or on one of the two public access computer terminals in the Clerk’s Office. User Surveys from Tompkins Family Court litigants praise both the staff and the DIY Form programs for their great service. Read a sampling of what litigants said about their DIY experience in the Tompkins Count Family Court below.




View the photo gallery of the awards presentation.




Read a sampling of what litigants had to say about their DIY experience in the Tompkins County Family Court

"I thought the site was easy to guide through and was very informative." - Custody Modification Program, March 2, 2014.

"Thank you!! - Support Enforcement Program, December 17, 2013.

"You are the best." - Support Enforcement Program, December 16, 2013.

"Employee (Paula) was very helpful." - Custody Modification Program, December 13, 2013.

"This program was very helpful. Thank you!" - Custody Modification Program, December 10, 2013.

"Everything was fine." - Support Modification Program, October 14, 2013.

"Great service!" - Support Modification Program, September 20, 2013.

"The DIY program was great and very helpful. The employees were great at helping me go through everything." - Support Modification Program, September 10, 2013.

"Great job. Thank you. Court ladies are always very helpful. Thank you all!" - Support Modification Program, September 5, 2013.

"Love the program easy to use and quick." - Support Modification Program, September 3, 2013

"I found it very much quicker and less hassle than the paper work." - Support Modification Program, July 23, 2013.

"The program made this experience fast and easy." - Support Modification Program, July 17, 2013.

"You guys are great." - Support Modification Program, July 11, 2013.

"I liked it." - Support Modification Program, June 28, 2013.

"Great innovative program." - Support Modification Program, June 7, 2012.

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