Making Court Work, on Time and Correctly
“I’m the first person to get the facts from the court. After that, I refer them to the place the records need to go... If I don’t put a file away in the right place, and it gets lost, they’re never going to get it. So you’ve got to do the job right.” ... Fredi Ramirez
The prosecutors at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office handle lots of cases each day, and they can’t do anything without the diligent work of Clerks like Fredi Ramirez.
Ramirez, who joined the DA’s office five years ago, is one of a dozen workers who retrieve the proper records after arraignments and ensure that they go to the right prosecutor later that day so that cases can go forward in a timely manner. It is a job that requires an intense attention to detail and the pressure of doing things quickly.
"I’m the first person to get the facts from the court. After that, I refer them to the place the records need to go,” he said. “If I don’t put a file away in the right place, and it gets lost, they’re never going to get it. So you’ve got to do the job right.”
Work Is Appreciated
Ramirez added of the Assistant District Attorney’s who are seeking records each day from the Clerks, “They appreciate the work I do.”
Working for the Brooklyn DA’s office for SSEU Local 371 members is tough these days, especially because Union members are upset with its decision to wrongly and overzealously prosecute two former members in the Administration of Children’s Services in the tragic case of the death Marchella Pierce, who was allegedly starved to death by her mother.
Ramirez’s job is also a physically demandingone. “You lift boxes and you move stuff around,” he said. “You have to go outside and the weather is not always fine."
Ramirez, who moved to the United States from Colombia 19 years ago, came to the public sector after several years as a self-employed limousine driver. He liked driving, but when he became ill, he realized he needed a career with high-quality, employer-provided health insurance.
Ramirez, who also serves as an SSEU Local 371 Delegate, said that being a Clerk has allowed him to learn about the intricacies of the court system, but more importantly, the daily communication he has on the job has helped him master English. He compares the daily grind of ensuring that the different records in the court system get to the right office is like solving a complicated puzzle.
“I like the job,” he said. “I enjoy what I do.”
As a Delegate, he is devoted to making sure that his fellow Union members get the respect from management they deserve. Ramirez said that his Union role has taught him to always be mindful as to what is going on in the workplace.
“You have to be strong,” he said. “If you see something wrong, you have to make it right. It makes you study. It makes you pay attention.”
Enjoying Civil Service
In addition to driving, Ramirez has had a lot of different jobs since coming to the United States. He worked in a factory and even opened a restaurant, and while the income was good, he was overwhelmed by the constant, unending labor.
“You need a rest,” he said.
Now, Ramirez is in a Union-protected position and takes real ownership of his work.
“I don’t plan to change,” he said. “I’m happy with what I’m doing.”