There are so many sayings about clothing… “Clothes make the man,” or “I love a man in uniform,” or even the more famous take from the l’il ol band from Houston, ZZ Top: “Every girl’s crazy ‘about a sharp dressed man.”
The sayings continue to hold weight, as attested by Jason B. Ormby, a Houston area resident whose recent visit to the municipal courts left a real impression. Here is his letter:
I am writing to share with you an unusually pleasant experience I recently had in your Municipal Courts. I should preface my comments by letting you know I am a native Houstonian and the owner/operator of several thousand apartment units around Houston. However, I am a licensed Texas attorney, and prior to my foray into real estate, spent six years as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps where I spent time as, among other things, both a prosecutor and defense counsel. As such, I am no stranger to the court room.
On the morning of April 15, 2022, one of my employees was to appear in Court 1 AT 8 a.m. I arrived at the court, her legal spouse, at approximately 7:20 a.m. I was informed that the Court 1 docket was moved to another court. I entered the court room and saw the name plate indicating the presiding judge was Polly Gilligan. I walked up front and inspected the docket sheet to ensure I was in the right place and took my seat.
At approximately 7:40 a.m., the bailiff entered, her uniform pressed and clean. She looked like she was ready for “inspection.” The Marine in me was impressed. She addressed the now crowded rows of litigants informing them of the rules and requirements of the court. She spoke with authority, loudly and clearly, yet her tone was one of respect.
T7:50 a.m., the court clerk entered and took her seat. Minutes later, Judge Gilligan entered. At 8 a.m. sharp, the judge addressed her courtroom. Like her bailiff, she addressed the court with authority, yet did so with respect and dignity. She even spoke Spanish when she deemed it helpful. As a result, the docket moved quickly and without a hiccup. By 8:20 a.m., Judge Gilligan’s clerk was calling litigants up with their paperwork processed. They efficiency was glorious to see.
I have been in many courts and unfortunately seen many officers of the court (judges, justices, bailiffs and clerks)treat citizenry with disdain and disrespect. It is always disheartening to see and hear. I was so impressed with Judge Gilligan and her court that I felt I must write and tell you and let you know. I have no doubt that the staff working for Judge Gilligan are better at what they do, thanks to her leadership and example. Never once did I observe an air of sanctimony or piety. Judge Gilligan ran her courtroom as someone who takes great pride in being a servant of the people. It is my hope that my hometown can always brag about city services like the courtroom presided over by Judge Gilligan. She is an example for all those who choose public service.
Jason B. Ormsby, SWA-Property Management