The man who ran the day-to-day operations of Missouri’s court system for seven years arrived in Kosovo this week to start his new job. Michael Buenger, the former state courts administrator for Missouri is helping reform the court system in Kosovo. He knows that country’s system is different from ours–a civil system compared to our common-law system of justice. He says one of the challenges anyone faces in the situation he is entering is determining what the values are of the people, and what can be shaped or re-shaped within that culture.
Buenger says the process could take years. He’ll be in Kosovo for at least two years.
Binger says Missouri became a national leader in court technology in the seven years he was the administrator. He says Missouri is the only state that can say all of its criminal courts are operating on the same communications system. One part of that system focuses on public safety. He says the Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies can quickly tap into the court’s information system to get critical public safety information, such as immediate notification if a court has issued a protective order.
Buenger says the court administrator’s office has tried to use education and technology to make the court system more professional and more open to the public
But he admitted some disappointments as he left his job earlier this month. He says the political climate has become "significantly coarser," that the tensions between the branches of government and the rhetoric between the branches of government have gone beyond what it needs to be. He says the institutional attacks between the branches of government have reached a level that is eroding public confidence in government. He calls that change "a bad course to be on."
(note: Buenger is pronounced "binger")