Cyndi Tumlin, CCR, RPR
President Alabama Court Reporters Association
Back to court; back to freelancing; back to school; back to football; back to the gym; back to the beach, maybe, for a last hoorah; back to a little more normal atmosphere – and all from behind a mask. Not a fan of the mask personally, but I’m wearing one in and out of court. Not a fan of Spanx either, but it is sometimes a necessary evil. Maybe the upside to the mask is helping improve our sensory Superpowers of hearing and discerning muffled and inaudible sounds, visualizing witnesses and marking exhibits through fogged or blurry lenses, ramping up our focus and concentration skills while breathing thinner and thinner air behind the mask and taking hours on end of testimony as the Guardians of the Record. Ready or not, here we come – mask and all!!
ACRA’s Vice President Sabrina Lewis conducted the annual membership drive. Congratulations to Michelle Roberts from Gadsden State for winning a $200 Best Buy gift card. The prize choices Sabrina chose were excellent. Thank you to everyone who has already renewed their membership. Please encourage those around you to join ACRA. Whether behind a mask, freelancing throughout the state, taking proceedings as an official, or perhaps captioning or providing CART, we are Stronger Together. ACRA is committed to present a positive and united front to court reporting in all its forms.
NCRA held its Connect Virtual Convention at the beginning of August. President-Elect Jennifer Kissic, Vice President Sabrina Lewis, and I attended the event virtually. It was a definitely a new experience, but NCRA really stepped up and presented sessions that were outstanding. I also virtually attended the National Congress of State Associations (NCSA), as well, and listened while state after state reported their current status and any issues they are facing. I was astonished at the number of states that are dealing with significant problems.
I’d like to encourage every one of you to be Proactive and Diligent and Be Aware of what is going on in the areas you work, Advocate stenographic with your clients, Watch Outfor unlicensed court reporters and digitals, and, finally, Report any and all instances to the Alabama Board of Court Reporting (ABCR). Recently, a job posting was discovered within our state for a “digital court reporter,” and thanks to a licensed court reporter’s report, that listing was addressed and ultimately removed. We cannot sit back and allow any illegal activity to occur in Alabama. Each licensed Certified Court Reporter has to become the first line of defense – “Not in our state; not today or next month or next year.” Please don’t wait until there is a problem. It could be too late if we allow unlicensed court reporters and digitals to operate within our state.
ABCR recently welcomed the Honorable Jennifer Egbe of the Huie law firm as the newest member of the board filling an attorney seat. We are excited to continue to work alongside this current board. Our ABCR Liaison Ashley Dickey represents ACRA at the ABCR board meetings. Maintaining positive relationships and working together has afforded us the opportunity to serve together on committees within our State Government presenting a united front for the betterment of court reporting as a whole.
And, just by way of reminder: If you have not done so, it is time to renew your Certified Court Reporter license with ABCR. Also, the Orders from Chief Justice Tom Parker regarding swearing witnesses through remote video means during the Pandemic Emergency have been extended to December 31, 2020. (Refer to the actual order for specific details.)
Watch for upcoming announcements from Conference Chair Jennifer Kissic regarding the details of our 2021 Annual Conference. Jennifer is faced with new challenges with the COVID-19 Pandemic, but is working hard and using her unique skills in technology to make sure there will be opportunities to get the CEUs required to renew your license. Let’s all join her in seizing this rare opportunity to learn and build on our knowledge to move forward in today’s New Normal. Zoom, Zoom, & Away!!
Social media is a powerful tool. ACRA has created an ACRA Matters that Matter page on Facebook. This page is dedicated strictly to court reporters within Alabama to be a tool to share knowledge, ask questions, and receive answers pertinent to Alabama – to create a central location for Alabama reporters to network together. Check it out and join. Also, be sure to check out our website at alcra.org. Website Chair Karen Strickland-Planz has updated the website and is working on a special project in tracing the history of ACRA Past Presidents and DSA recipients.
Change … it has such negative connotations. Seems like the older I get, the harder it is to change. I encourage every court reporter to determine in their mind to be a Positive Influence, have a Good Attitude, and be a Help in these changing times. Let’s make it our goal to ALWAYS be a part of the solution -- never part of the problem. We are living in a time where opportunities abound to expand, grow, and become a better reporter. Change is actually one of my favorite aspects of court reporting. There is always an opportunity to improve my skill, explore something new, and become a better person.
This year has brought about a great deal of change very quickly. Who better to take on this challenge of helping the court system move forward and get us ALL rolling again while making sure that Stenographic remains the Superior means of making the record than Alabama’s Finest Court Reporters!
Join with ACRA in putting our best foot forward because we are always … STRONGER TOGETHER!