Goals and Objectives

Department of Labor Goals and Objectives for the 2021 Biennium

WORKFORCE SERVICES DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Job Service Operations Bureau

Goal #1: Develop and maintain a highly skilled, employment-ready workforce that supports and enhances the economic health of state and local business communities.

Objectives:

  1. Engage business and industry to build relationships and understand immediate and future workforce needs.
  2. Facilitate collaboration and foster partnerships with all system partners to build a shared vision and strategy.
  3. Focus on skill development and career paths for job seekers, current workers, and business and industry.
  4. Reduce barriers to employment for both business/industry and job seekers.
  5. Utilize data for informed decision making and continuous improvement.

Statewide Initiatives and Workforce Programs Bureau

Goal #1: Increase knowledge, understanding and usage of Montana’s Registered Apprenticeship and other Work-Based Learning training programs.

Objectives:

  1. Provide recognized apprenticeship registration for Montana employers across all relevant and applicable occupations.
  2. Increase program apprentice registrations.
  3. Increase program apprentice completions.
  4. Increase new employer registrations.
  5. Increase new occupational registrations.
  6. Increase the number of pre- apprenticeship programs to create career pathways into full apprenticeship programs.
  7. Continue to increase the number of registered apprentices from minority and other under-represented populations.

Goal #2: Prepare students in grades 6-12 for meaningful career-oriented jobs through the Jobs for Montana's Graduates (JMG) program.

Objectives:

  1. Achieve a senior graduation rate of 90%.
  2. Achieve a senior positive outcome rate of 80%.
  3. Achieve a senior full-time placement rate (job & post-secondary) of 80%.
  4. Achieve a non-senior return to school rate of 70%.
  5. All JMG students will develop an Individual Employment Plan, that includes, but is not limited to: career exploration; career skills and training requirements; on the job training, and; job search activities.
  6. All JMG classes will use the Project-Based Learning model to provide real world experience for work.
  7. Increase the number of JMG College Success Programs, modeled after the pilot at Fort Peck Community College, to improve certification/certificate attainment, and student retention.

Research and Analysis Bureau

Goal #1: Maintain high quality labor market and career information.

Objectives:

  1. Meet and exceed requirements for Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliverables 100% of the time.
  2. Increase relevance of and access to labor market information for all customers, including continuous improvement of the website, www.lmi.mt.gov.
  3. Increase relevance of and access to career resources and information for all customers (pre-K through senior citizens), including continued no-cost access to the Montana Career Information System (MCIS).

Division Management Services Bureau

Goal #1: Provide fiscal management and oversight, policy analysis and development, reports monitoring and evaluation, and administrative support to Bureaus.

Objectives:

  1. Ensure and maintain a fiscally responsible budget.
  2. Ensure and maintain current and accurate program policy guidance and operational information.
  3. Ensure timely and accurate federal and state programmatic reporting.
  4. Provide administrative support to assist the Division in operating in an efficient and effective manner.

State Workforce Innovation Board

Goal #1: Engage the workforce system in anticipating and responding to business’ current and emerging needs for skilled workers.

Objectives:

  1. Support Montana industry sector strategy in development of in-demand and targeted industries in Montana.
  2. Continue support, development and continuous improvement of Montana’s One Stop System.
  3. Support the coordination of services within Montana’s workforce system to support the training and development of workers.

Goal #2: Encourage alignment among workforce development, K-12 education, post-secondary education, and economic development partners.

Objectives:

  1. Encourage and support cooperation between workforce and economic development programs, K-12, and post-secondary education in pursuit of jointly operated projects.
  2. Support post-secondary education initiatives that enhance the ability of workers and employers to obtain timely and appropriate training.
  3. Support K-12 career exploration and work-based learning initiatives that enable students to understand career opportunities throughout Montana.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal #1: Meet or exceed program performance standards.

Objectives:

  1. Maintain or attain U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) core measures and secretary standards for benefit timeliness, quality and payment controls.
  2. Maintain USDOL core measures and Tax Performance System Standards for an acceptable level of tax performance of timeliness, quality, and completeness.
  3. Meet and maintain data validation standards for benefits and tax federal reporting.
  4. Perform case analysis and internal case reviews to address training needs that will assist in improving quality and accuracy.

Goal #2: Enhance customer and partner communications and program accessibility.

Objectives:

  1. Continue to revise and update correspondence templates, focusing on plain writing and standardized formats.
  2. Continue to update soft and hard copy publications to eliminate jargon and improve understanding by customers and core partners.
  3. Provide accurate and timely program information that is easily accessible via UI website, email, online services or as needed, hard copy.
  4. Provide enhanced electronic service to employers and their third party payroll and human resources agents through streamlined eServices and State Information Data Exchange Systems (SIDES) applications.
  5. Implement telephone contact centers to better direct customers to the proper work unit for assistance and reduce call transfers.

Program Support Bureau:

Goal #1: Enhance the facilitation of Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (UIAB) hearings in partnership with Office of Administrative Hearings and Legal Services.

Objectives:

  1. Develop hearings training for those who represent the Department.
  2. Increase quality of recordings and identify solutions to move UIAB appeals to digital media.
  3. Offer paperless, secure case file transfer to parties, their representatives, and Board members.

Goal #2: Provide timely, reliable and more transparent financial information to division personnel.

Objectives:

  1. Establish a more transparent method of tracking and recording grant funds.
  2. Provide clear and transparent budget reports for each Bureau.
  3. Develop and document the accounting processes and internal controls for all funds.

Goal #3: Prevent and detect fraud and improper benefit payments.

Objectives:

  1. Continue to improve risk- and knowledge-based identity confirmation solutions to deter identity theft, reduce improper payments and prioritize collection efforts.
  2. Collaborate with other state agencies, jurisdictions, and federal partners to share criminal enterprise and suspicious activity information.
  3. Continue to work with Legal Services on prosecution strategies.

Goal #4: Improve efficiencies of the collections unit to reduce costs, increase productivity.

Objectives:

  1. Review and implement new billing processes to achieve cost savings.
  2. Identify additional reports to increase efficiencies.
  3. Explore new collection strategies, including one-time and automatic ACH debit payment.

Claims Processing Bureau

Goal #1: Maintain and enhance partnership with the Workforce Services Division (WSD), its core partners, and aligned programs to assist in the employment of Montanans.

Objectives:

  1. Link UI claimants to a wide array of return-to-employment programs.
  2. Continue support and cross-training of WSD staff to assist Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants in finding new employment and to identify eligibility issues.
  3. Finish implementation of single portal capabilities for UI claim filing and Job Service registration.
  4. Integrate and analyze data across programs to evaluate service efficiency and outcomes beyond federal reporting requirements.

Goal #2: Expand electronic communication to increase efficiency and timeliness in administering UI benefit claims.

Objectives:

  1. Expand capability to communicate electronically with employers and third-party administrators for benefits administration through the USDOL-supported SIDES.
  2. Implement the capability to communicate electronically with claimants to provide prompt and effective information sharing, and accurate eligibility decisions.

Contributions Bureau:

Goal #1: Promote and expand employer’s use of UI eServices for conducting business with the division.

Objectives:

  1. Streamline the employer’s UI eServices log-on registration process.
  2. Conduct outreach to employers and third party agents (TPA’s) who file paper reports.
  3. Educate and assist employers and TPA’s in using UI eServices.

Goal #2: Administer unemployment tax laws to promote a fair, competitive business arena.

Objectives:

  1. Ensure proper wage reporting via periodic audits of employer records.
  2. Investigate leads, tips or complaints on businesses that purportedly have employees and are not registered and reporting.
  3. Assure experience rating is appropriately transferred following a business acquisition or transfer of employees.

COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Live, breath, walk, and talk the core values of the Department

Goal #1: Maintain Customer Focus

Objectives:

  1. Make decisions based on what is best for internal and external customers within the legal parameters of laws and regulations.
  2. Invite customer participation to better understand their needs.

Goal #2: Foster a Culture of Individual Responsibility

Objectives:

  1. Take individual responsibility for performance, attitude, professionalism, and communication.
  2. Work effectively and productively in teams and partnerships and take responsibility for each individual’s role in developing and maintaining healthy relationships and business partners.
  3. Seek training, tools, and information needed to perform the job.
  4. Look for ways to improve customer satisfaction.
  5. Accept responsibility and accountability before acting.
  6. Create a culture of safety.

Goal #3: Offer Opportunities for Individual Growth

Objectives:

  1. Freely share knowledge and opportunities for development.
  2. Commit resources for staff development.
  3. Recognize individual strengths and value how they contribute to the whole.
  4. Look creatively at solutions to enhance staff performance at all levels.

Goal #4: Ensure Ethics in the Workplace

Objectives:

  1. Display and encourage trust, mutual support, respect for others, and honesty.
  2. No engagement in, or tolerance for mean-spirited behavior.

Goal #5: Continuously Monitor and Improve Performance

Objectives:

  1. Continually question the "why" and "how" of performing specific job duties.
  2. Include all stakeholders that may be affected by any change or improvement being considered.
  3. When appropriate, use data and a structured method to make decisions.
  4. Continue to employ an annual performance appraisal, which includes a midyear evaluation due no later than March 31st and a final evaluation due June 30th.

CENTRALIZED SERVICES DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Centralized Services Division Fiscal Support Bureau

Goal #1: Provide timely and reliable financial information to department personnel to facilitate the best use of financial resources in achieving department goals.

Objectives:

  1. Prepare timely budget status reports for the department.
  2. Conduct regular meetings with division and department staff to review financial information.
  3. Complete financial transactions when due.

Commissioner’s Office of Human Resources

Goal #1: Strategically and systematically plan for an increase in the number of retirements over the next biennium.

Objectives:

  1. Identify mission critical positions held by retirement eligible employees.
  2. Identify timelines for potential vacancies.
  3. Develop a plan to transfer knowledge before retirements in mission critical positions occur.

Goal #2: Work to ensure retention of existing employees through career and development opportunities.

Objectives:

  1. Identify career paths and transferable skills between various occupations throughout the department.
  2. Discuss career opportunities and aspirations with each individual employee and formulate individual career development plans.
  3. Provide targeted development to high performing and high potential employees where career opportunities exist within the department.
  4. Continue to encourage participation in the Leadership Development program for emerging leaders within the department.

Goal #3: Successfully facilitate the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements for the two bargaining units within the agency.

Objectives:

  1. Reach an agreement with MPEA bargaining unit by October 1, 2019.
  2. Reach agreement with the Hearings Officers and Mediators bargaining unit by October 1, 2019.

EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Human Rights Bureau

Goal #1: Conduct timely impartial investigations of charges of illegal discrimination under state and federal law.

Objective:

  1. Complete case investigations within 120 days for housing charges and 180 days for all other charges in accordance with state statutory time lines.

Goal #2: Ensure appropriate filing within statutory time lines and jurisdiction of applicable state and federal discrimination statutes.

Objective:

  1. Trained staff will screen complaint inquiries and, when appropriate, prepare written complaints within two weeks of all intake interviews.

Goal #3: Foster early resolution of charges.

Objectives:

  1. Provide voluntary resolution services during the 180 days investigation period, when requested by parties to a case.
  2. Successfully resolve 25% of complaints filed with the Bureau.

Goal #4: Provide technical assistance and educational outreach to businesses, advocacy groups, and interested citizens.

Objectives:

  1. Provide training at Safetyfests.
  2. Participate in a minimum of 10 other workshops and conferences on disability issues, race relations, education, public accommodations, and discrimination issues in the workplace.
  3. Respond to business rights inquiries from the public within two business days.

Safety and Health Bureau

Goal #1: Assist employers in complying with workplace safety and health standards.

Objectives:

  1. Assist 175 public sector employers with safety and health.
  2. Conduct 200 safety compliance visits with State Agencies, Cities, and Counties.
  3. Conduct inspections on Montana's six coal mines.
  4. Conduct annual sand and gravel inspection.
  5. Utilize the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Consultation Program to reach out and provide safety and health services to 175 private sector employers around the state.

Goal #2: Provide educational outreach and technical assistance to Montana employers, workers, students, and interested organizations.

Objectives:

  1. Provide Business Outreach presentations throughout the State.
  2. Participate as an exhibitor promoting Safety & Health Bureau and SafetyFestMT four times per year.
  3. Provide OSHA 10 Hour Courses targeted to young workers 40 times per year.
  4. Provide SafetyFestMTs four times per year to 1400 workers.
  5. Develop needed safety educational materials.

Goal #3: Provide mine training courses for Montana employers.

Objective:

  1. Schedule 20 Part 48 training sessions across the state to conduct new miner training/refresher training.

Compliance & Investigations Bureau

Goal #1: Conduct timely impartial investigations into matters under jurisdiction, including wage and hour, prevailing wage, employment relationship, uninsured employers, and contractor registration.

Objectives:

  1. Complete case investigation within 14 days for Uninsured Employers Fund (UEF) claim investigations.
  2. Complete case investigations within 60 days for all other allegations or time frame required by specific program statute, whichever comes first.

Goal #2: Conduct thorough audits of business operations to provide education and ensure compliance with areas under jurisdiction including wage and hour, employment relationship, prevailing wage, workers compensations coverage, and contractor registration.

Objectives:

  1. Complete audits of businesses in response to complaint allegations or through other means of identifying possible non-compliance within 120 days.
  2. Conduct random educational audits of businesses operating in the state of Montana for educational and compliance purposes.

Goal #3: Provide timely, impartial, and equitable dispute resolution and settlement of benefit issues and wage disputes between parties.

Objectives:

  1. Maintain at least a 75% resolution rate for all mediation conducted.
  2. Complete the mediation process on 100% of cases within 90 days of receipt of request for mediation. The timeframes may be extended by request and agreement of the parties.

Goals # 4: Foster alternative dispute resolution methodologies.

Objectives:

  1. Actively participate in Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) contract mediation and grievance mediation as requested.
  2. Offer and train new methodologies (such as the IBB and Affinity Model) to groups to provide additional resources and tools for resolution of issues.

Goal #5: Conduct inspections of construction sites to determine compliance with areas under jurisdiction including independent contractor, workers’ compensation, and projects subject to the Montana Public Works Contract Law.

Objectives:

  1. Perform inspections of at least 500 job locations annually, including at least 40 different public works projects.
  2. Follow up on referrals from other Sections for verification of on-site activities within 5 days or as specified by the nature of the specific issue.

Goal #6: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about the areas under jurisdiction in Title 18 and 39, MCA.

Objectives:

  1. Correctly answer public inquiries in an accurate, professional, and timely manner.
  2. Participate in public presentations as requested providing accurate and knowledgeable facts about the laws, rules, and processes under the department jurisdiction.
  3. Use technology as an added tool to provide education outreach to stakeholders, businesses, and citizens whenever available.

Operations Bureau

Goal #1: Respond to applications and renewal requests in a timely manner.

Objectives:

  1. Conduct timely compliance investigations for all new applications and renewals for Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates, Contractor Registrations, Self-Insurance, Professional Employer Organizations, Subsequent Injury Fund, Extraterritorial Certificates (E.T.), and Managed Care Organizations.
  2. Complete contractor registrations within seven days of receipt.
  3. Complete independent contractor exemption certificates within 10 days of receipt.

Goal #2: Negotiate with states Montana currently has E.T. agreements with, new updated agreements.

Objective:

  1. Bring outdated E.T agreements current with states that Montana has reciprocity agreements in place with.

Goal #3: Enhance the electronic collection, quality, production, and sharing of workers’ compensation information and data.

Objectives:

  1. Complete the Annual Report by July of each year.
  2. Prepare at least one special study to be made available to the workers’ compensation community each fiscal year.
  3. Participate in ABC clinics and provide support to other workshops and conferences as needed.

Workers’ Compensation Section

Goal #1: Provide timely monitoring and regulatory services for the workers’ compensation industry and claimants.

Objectives:

  1. Process 100% of orders within 14 days of receipt. This typically requires issuance of determinations on 50 orders annually.
  2. Process 100% of settlements within 14 days of receipt. This typically requires issuance of approvals on 1,900 settlements annually.
  3. Mail a letter to 100% of injured workers who file a report of injury to notify them of the Stay at Work/Return to Work (SAW/RTW) assistance program.
  4. Refer 100% of requests for assistance to the insurer or vocational rehabilitation provider within 3 days of receipt.
  5. Complete Independent Medical Reviews (IMRs) within 14 days of receiving the request. This typically requires completing 25 IMR annually.
  6. Complete review for re-opening terminated medical benefits within 60 days of filing of a request.
  7. Process 100% of attorney fee agreements. This typically requires the approval of 2,600 attorney fee agreements annually.
  8. Develop training and approve claims examiner trainings for continuing education credits for the Claims Examiner Certification program. This typically requires approving and assigning credits to 60 trainings annually.

Goal #2: Develop reviews of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines and Medical Fee schedules including internet based information and technical assistance for the medical community, insurers, adjusters, employers, workers, and the public.

Objectives:

  1. Review and update of workers’ compensation medical fee schedules on an annual basis including ongoing support and communication.
  2. Review and update of the Montana Utilization and Treatment Guidelines on an annual basis including ongoing support and communication.

Goal #3: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Objectives:

  1. Correctly answer public inquiries. Ensure public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
  2. Develop educational outreach for all workers’ compensation programs.
  3. Leverage use of technology whenever possible to extend the reach of our educational programs.
  4. Participate in a minimum of 10 educational workshops and conferences annually to provide information about the programs administered by the section.
  5. Creating and maintaining a current and informative website.

BUSINESS STANDARDS DIVISION GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Professional Licensing Bureau

Goal #1: Provide efficient and effective administrative and professional services to assist citizen boards in their duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.

Objectives:

  1. Assist boards and programs in establishing appropriate and reasonable requirements and qualifications for licensure and renewal based on industry standards.
  2. Ensure complaints from the public and other jurisdictions regarding practice issues and misconduct are processed.
  3. Enforce board standards and sanctions to promote safe and competent practice.
  4. Ensure continued competency of licensees through maintenance of certifications and continuing education requirements and audits.

Goal #2: Provide friendly, prompt, efficient, and effective services to our customers.

Objectives:

  1. Provide accurate and timely information regarding qualifications and requirements to the public, licensees, business owners, and industry leaders and partners.
  2. Provide continuous communication to customers regarding program information and updates via our website and online services.

Goal #3: License and renew individuals and businesses through proficient, effective, and reliable processes.

Objectives:

  1. Review and approve individual and business application requirements and qualifications for licensure and renewal equitably.
  2. Solicit opportunity for the public, licensees, industry leaders, and partners to provide feedback for improvement regarding standards and processes.
  3. Promote online application and renewal processes to achieve efficiencies and enhanced delivery of services.

Building and Commercial Measurements Bureau

Weights and Measures Program

Goal #1: Assure equity in commercial transactions.

Objectives:

  1. Test, inspect, and certify licensed scales, retail and wholesale meters, and liquefied petroleum gas dispensers used commercially in Montana.
  2. Obtain National Institute for Standards & Technology (NIST) recognition for the State Metrology Laboratory and ensure all standards used by registered service providers have up to date certificates of calibration.

Goal #2: Provide prompt, efficient, and courteous service to business owners and the public.

Objectives:

  1. Investigate all meter and scale complaints.
  2. Promote online application and renewal processes to achieve efficiencies and enhanced delivery of services.
  3. Obtain feedback from businesses and the public on ways to improve the service we provide.
  4. Educate business owners with packaging and labeling requirements.

Building Codes Program

Goal #1: Protect the health and safety of the public, employees, building owners, and residents by administering building construction standards throughout the state where applicable.

Objectives:

  1. Adopt through consensus process sensible uniform standards for construction, installation, and materials consistent with accepted standards of design, energy efficiency, accessibility, and uniformity for enforcement.
  2. Allow for the use of modern technical methods, devices, and improvements to reduce the cost of construction consistent with reasonable requirements for the health and safety of the occupants or users of buildings.
  3. Provide predictability, fairness, and efficiency to businesses and citizens by removing outdated, restraining, contradictory, and unnecessary building regulations that tend to needlessly increase construction costs or create barriers for business.

Goal #2: Provide prompt, efficient, and effective service to business owners, citizens, design professional, building contractors, and trade persons through effective and responsive transactional methods.

Objectives:

  1. Review, process, and approve a variety of permits and construction-related licensing applications in a fast, efficient, and effective manner such that businesses can hire qualified persons and get and keep projects moving.
  2. Meet the ongoing needs of businesses by maintaining an effective online citizen access portal for instant permit-issuance of a variety of permit types. Continue to provide business-requested services such as jobsite-issued permits, off-hours capability, and real-time inspection results delivered directly to smart phones of contractors.
  3. Provide Montana businesses that operate in or around the building environment access to permit and construction activity data to supplement and support their own business forecasting and practices.
  4. Seek to continuously improve to realize additional efficiencies and effectiveness to respond to the needs of Montana’s businesses and citizens.

TECHNOLOGY SERVICES DIVISION

Goal #1: Serve the common customer by creating a culture of exceptional customer service, by viewing and engaging customers first and foremost as department customers

Objectives:

  1. Minimize customer confusion and improve customer perception of the department/state.
  2. Staff development and career lattice structure.
  3. Culture change.
  4. Analysis of current structure, what changes are needed.

Goal #2: Common web portal / Gateway to department services, single portal connecting customers to multiple systems.

Objectives:

  1. Complete a situational assessment.
  2. Improve the customer experience and communication through common systems and modules.
  3. Provide for strategic partner engagement.

Goal #3: Common Data, make better decisions based on good data

Objectives:

  1. Assemble quality data
  2. Organize the data
  3. Analyze the data

GOVERNORS’ OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

MONTANA COMMISSION ON COMMUNITY SERVICE

The Governor's Office of Community Service (OCS):

Encourages citizens of all ages and backgrounds to engage in service

Encourages organizations to involve youths in the life and work of communities

Works to promote and expand volunteer opportunities for all Montanans

Goal #1: Conduct statewide outreach to increase volunteerism and encourage Montanans to be civically engaged.

Objectives:

  1. Encourage and promote community volunteerism.
  2. Encourage Montanans to be civically engaged in their communities.
  3. Connect Montanans with opportunities to serve.

Goal #2: Expand and support national service.

Objectives:

  1. Provide technical assistance and training to AmeriCorps State programs.
  2. Expand National Service programs statewide.
  3. Encourage cross-stream service collaboration and networking.

Goal #3: Increase sustainability of national service and volunteerism.

Objectives:

  1. Engage current and new philanthropic partners.
  2. Diversify financial support.
  3. Advance and expand initiatives that contribute to sustainability of National Service efforts in Montana, and the country.

Goal #4: Develop and strengthen relationships with community partners.

Objectives:

  1. Develop and strengthen relationships with American Indian communities and Tribal leaders.
  2. Develop and strengthen partnerships with other organizations.
  3. Strategize and plan cross-stream service partnerships.

Goal #5: Increase statewide Commissioner engagement.

Objectives:

  1. Engage Commissioners in National Service activities.
  2. Engage Commissioners in OCS activities.
  3. Expand Commissioner engagement in public outreach and education of elected officials.

Goal #6: Increase opportunities for youth to serve.

Objectives:

  1. Encourage a lifelong commitment to service among young adults.
  2. Recognize volunteer efforts of students.

Goal #7: Recognize meaningful volunteers in communities throughout Montana.

Objectives:

  1. Recognize volunteers and community improvement efforts statewide.
  2. Highlight volunteerism impact to the public.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal #1: Improve and Revise the Court’s Rules.

Objective:

  1. Continue to annually review the Workers’ Compensation Court Rules to ensure they remain clear and easy to decipher for unrepresented parties as well as the practicing bar.

Goal #2: Continue flexible policy of trying cases when and where the parties wish.

Objective:

  1. The Court will continue to be flexible when scheduling trials. The Workers’ Compensation Court has statewide jurisdiction and holds regular trial terms in five Montana cities: Billings, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Week-long trial terms are held in each city four times a year. In the past, the Court has also held trials in Butte, Red Lodge, Big Fork, Miles City, Malta, Columbus, Bozeman, Sidney, and Plains.

Goal #3: Maintain the average time between submission and decision to within 90 days.

Objectives:

  1. The Court utilizes law clerks who conduct legal research and assist with drafting and finalizing decisions and substantive interim orders. The Court maintains an in-house submitted list which prioritizes cases by date of trial or submission of motions and is reviewed weekly by the law clerks and Judge.
  2. The Court encourages parties practicing before the Court to have all motions fully briefed and depositions filed on their due date so that the matter can be finally submitted at the conclusion of the trial. The Court has implemented procedures which facilitate rulings on motions to assist matters proceeding to trial in a timely manner. The Clerk of Court and Deputy Clerk I also act as pretrial hearing examiners. The pretrial hearing examiners facilitate the pretrial process to ensure the matter will be submitted at the conclusion of the trial.
  3. The Court endeavors to issue bench rulings whenever possible, thus expediting decisions. In order to facilitate this goal, the Court keeps a court reporter on staff who reports each proceeding. This facilitates the issuance of bench rulings which could not otherwise be issued immediately upon the conclusion of a trial or oral argument.

Goal #4: Continue to post final, published decisions on the Court’s website and provide efficient search tools and a topics index for research purposes.

Objective:

  1. The Court will continue to post its published decisions and any substantive orders on its website. The law clerks compose topics in each published decision for research purposes. The topics are then input into the topics indexes and uploaded onto the Court's website. The Court endeavors to refine its search engine by partnering with information technology personnel and encourages attorneys practicing before the Court to utilize the topics index and search engines in conducting legal research.

Goal #5: Continue to maintain the Workers’ Compensation Court website.

Objective:

  1. The Court will continue to maintain its extensive website. The website contains helpful information for parties practicing before the Court. The court clerks are proficient in uploading information on the website to ensure current data and information for its users. Court decisions are published on the website dating back from 1993 to the present. Additionally, a topics index is available which is useful for legal research. Links to Montana Supreme Court decisions and other state agencies are also provided on the website. Court personnel are readily accessible through e-mail address links located on the website. The website contains the Court’s calendar, which is continually updated. The website also contains the Court rules, legal forms, general information, and helpful hints.

Goal #6: Continue to support easy accessibility by pro sé (unrepresented) parties.

Objective:

  1. The Workers’ Compensation system is intended to be primarily self-administering. In furtherance of this goal, the Court is designed to make navigating through the system as easy as possible for pro sé (unrepresented) parties. One of the ways this goal is accomplished is by keeping the Court’s extensive website updated. Additionally, the Court provides helpful assistance with any procedural question a pro sé party may have. Along with the Court’s rules, the website contains forms and an informational brochure specifically geared toward pro sé parties. Hard copies of these materials are also available upon request.

Goal #7: Continue to maintain wireless internet access.

Objective:

  1. The Court purchased and will continue to maintain wireless internet service to enable parties access to the internet on their personal laptop computers for legal research during trials, oral arguments, and conferences.

Goal #8: Continue to allow electronic filing of pleadings.

Objective:

  1. The Court will continue to allow for the electronic filing of documents to assist parties in timely filing their documents.

Goal #9: Continue the Court’s relationship with the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

Objective:

  1. In an effort to continue its historical relationship with the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana, the Court will be engaging student interns. The interns will observe court proceedings and draft Court orders and decisions.