Monday, April 6, 2009 | 2 a.m.
At 35, Ed Friedland is one of the youngest administrators on the county payroll. As court executive officer, he runs both District Court and Las Vegas Justice Court. Friedland, a former executive deputy commissioner for the New York Division of Human Rights, sat down with the Sun to discuss the challenges of the job he has held since August.
What is the difference between government service in Nevada and New York?
Government is a little newer out here and growing a lot quicker. You have to keep up with growth. I took over during one of the worst economic downturns, which hasn’t made my job as easy as it could have been.
In the context of these difficult times, what accomplishment are you most proud of at the Regional Justice Center?
We’ve been fiscally responsible and have tried to make sure employees still have jobs.
How have you done that?
We’ve streamlined the administrative process and cracked down on overtime. We’re $3 million under budget in District Court and $1 million under budget in Justice Court this fiscal year, which means that money will be returned to the county. We’re making sure the reason we do things here is because of necessity, not because we used to do it that way.
What has surprised you the most here?
The response to our traffic amnesty program was much more than we thought it would be. We brought in an additional $6 million in fines. During the last days, we had staff from every part of the courthouse working to accommodate the long lines. At one point, I was actually running credit cards myself.
What has frustrated you the most?
The problems with the building. The county paid a lot of money for this building, and it doesn’t function properly. We have leaks on a regular basis. There are days when we have no water pressure on certain floors, and there are days when we have no hot water. There are days when the elevators don’t work, and there are days when the temperature can’t be controlled.
What is your most immediate priority at the courthouse?
To get on track with our efforts to modernize the court system. We want to go paperless entirely and make the court as virtual as possible. Eventually, we’re hoping to get more people to do e-filings.