Richard T. McSorley, Esq.
The District Court Administrator is the highest non-judicial leadership position in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania (FJD). The position was created in 1996, when the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in reorganizing the FJD established the Administrative Governing Board (AGB). The Office of the District Court Administrator was instituted to complement the Board and carry out their directives, to propose solutions to problems and innovative ideas for improvements, and to oversee the day-to-day management of the District. On November 2, 2020, Richard T. McSorley, Esq. was appointed the FJD Court Administrator.
The Office provides centralized management for major service centers that affect the work of the courts throughout the District, and coordinates the ministerial activities of Deputy Court Administrators located in specific courts and divisions of the FJD. The Chief Deputy Court Administrator position is also briefly described in the text below.
The position of Chief Deputy Court Administrator rounds out the complement of managers reporting directly to the Court Administrator. The Chief Deputy Court Administrator is responsible for carrying out high level initiatives as identified by the Court Administrator, and these include caseflow management, technology acquisition and implementation, facility design and management, system restructuring, labor relations, and records management. The Court Administrator, the Chief Deputy Court Administrator, and Deputy Court Administrator positions are included in the Commonwealth Unified Judicial System structure.
There are 12 DCA positions. Four are concerned with cross-court services: 1) Procurement Department; 2) Financial Services; 3) Court Reporter and Interpreter Services; 4) Legal Services, Office of Court Compliance. Seven DCA positions have responsibilities focused on the specific divisions of the courts in which they are located, and these are listed below:
Pleas Family Division Juvenile Branch
Common Pleas Family Division Domestic Relations Branch
Common Pleas Trial Division Civil Section
Common Pleas Trial Division Criminal Section
Municipal Court Civil Division
Municipal Court Criminal Division
Municipal Court Traffic Division
While the DCAs that are spread throughout the courts report to the Court Administrator, they must also work very closely and respond to the direction of their respective President and Administrative Judges. This dual organizational scheme guarantees individual courts and divisions the benefits of the services of a Deputy Court Administrator and at the same time ensures that their operations are coordinated as key components of the centralized FJD management structure.
A wide array of services is managed by the Office of the Court Administrator and these are summarized below:
The FJD Office of Human Resources serves the leaders and employees of the Courts through the management of positions, policy improvement, testing, training, and employee compensation and benefits.
Department of Information and Technology Services manages and maintains the court mainframe and PC information systems, including a Wide Area Network (WAN) connecting about 3,000 PCs.
Court Reporting and Interpreter Services - Court reporters are highly trained and skilled professionals who, through the use of stenographic machines and computer-aided transcription, preserve the verbatim record of all proceedings in the First Judicial District (FJD), with the exception of those proceedings held in Philadelphia Traffic Division and those preserved through the use of Digital (audio) Recording. Court Reporting Services are provided in the Common Pleas and Municipal Courts and their constituent divisions.
The Interpreter Division remains in the forefront of the field by ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, equal access to justice for those who are deaf or of Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
The Office of Administrative Services is responsible for the requisition of materials and coordination of maintenance and other services, largely through the Building and Facilities Department charged with upkeep, maintenance, and renovations of various Court-occupied structures.
The Financial Services Office provides the Court Administrator and other leaders with valuable information needed to support sound management decisions, offers links with other branches of government and funding sources, and responds to the directives of the Administrator.
Procurement Department The Procurement Unit continually strives to uphold an established and uncompromising Mission: to ensure that all the customers' needs are satisfactorily addressed with congenial and attentive service through the expeditious delivery of quality goods and services at the most economic prices available. To achieve its objectives, the Procurement Unit controls First Judicial District purchase of supplies, equipment, and services while monitoring District property management through the Inventory Control Division.
Legal Services Unit provides legal advice to the District Court Administrator, and supervisory assistance, as required, in connection with the various units which report to the District Court Administrator, including Human Resources, Office of Court Compliance and litigation.