Court Executive Gets National Honor

Ventura County court executive Sheila Gonzalez received a national award recognizing her leadership as a court administrator.

Gonzalez, 56, received the Ernest C. Friesen Award of Excellence July 5 from the Justice Management Institute during the annual meeting of the National Assn. for Court Management. About 500 people worldwide attended the conference.

"It's an award that recognizes an individual who has made substantial contributions in court administration," said Vince Ordsqez Jr., assistant executive officer for Ventura Superior Court.

"She has been recognized for creating and developing a number of programs and services that, for the most part, are very nontraditional for courts."

Gonzalez became the court executive for the Ventura County Municipal Court in 1986 and the court executive for both the Municipal and Superior courts in 1989.

"I'm very committed to judicial administration and what the court stands for," Gonzalez said. "I think when you believe in something it comes through to others."

Gonzalez's initiatives include Ventura's Self-Help Legal Access Center, a free service that assists individuals who cannot afford an attorney, and placing kiosks in malls to allow people to electronically pay traffic fines and schedule traffic school classes.

"We are probably one of the most technological courts in the country, which has helped our efficiency, but more importantly helped the service we provide to the people who use the court," Ordsqez said. "It's all because the technology we have been able to incorporate into daily work under the leadership of Sheila."

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