Shelley R. Spivack elected president of the Referees Association of Michigan


First ever Genesee County Resident

Shelley R. Spivack was elected President of the Referees Association of Michigan at the 28th Annual Conference in Traverse City, MI this past May.  Becoming the organizations’ first President from Genesee County, Spivack’s primary goal is to increase the visibility and ensure the stability of the organization so that the motto “Compassionate Justice Helping Children” will be realized in family courts throughout the state of Michigan.   Spivack also received the “Active Member Award” for her work as editor for the Association’s newsletter, Referees Quarterly.

The Referees Association of Michigan (RAM) is recognized by the State Bar of Michigan as a special purpose organization. The Association consists of both Juvenile Court and Friend of the Court (collectively referred to as “Family Court”) referees throughout the State of Michigan.

RAM’s primary function is to educate its members by providing a forum for communication, by holding an annual training conference, and by providing a quarterly publication, called Referees’ Quarterly.

RAM also offers guidance to both the State Legislature and Michigan Supreme Court regarding proposed amendments to statutes and court rules. Collectively, the referees who comprise RAM’s membership preside over 100,000 family law hearings every year. For details: http://referees-association. org/index.shtml.

A Family Court Referee since October of 2002, Spivack holds a JD degree from Brooklyn Law School and a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan-Flint, and also is a lecturer at UM-Flint in the Criminal Justice and Women and Gender Studies programs.  In 2011 she oversaw the creation of the Buckham/ GVRC Share Art project which brought weekly visual arts and poetry workshops into Genesee County’s youth detention facility. 

She has been active in many civic and social services agencies having formerly served as president of Jewish Community Services and the Friends of Modern Art and currently serves as a board member for Buckham Fine Arts Project. 
Highlighting the conference was a keynote presentation by former Supreme Court Justice and current Department of Human Services director, Maura Corrigan.  Director Corrigan presented an overview of the priorities of the Snyder administration in the area of human services, as well as reforms that have been made since she took over the helm of the department. 

Rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse while at the same tie ensuring that every person in Michigan who really needs assistance will get it, was the central theme that emerged during Director Corrigan’s presentation.  A renewed state commitment in the area of juvenile justice and the rooting out of gangs in cities such as Flint and Detroit, are also areas to receive special attention in the Snyder administration.

The Referees Association of Michigan at the 28th Annual Conference also bestowed awards to the following: 

Kristi Drake, Lenawee County:  President’s Award for Service to the Association, for her work as Membership chair.

Traci Rink, Oakland County:  Service to the Board Award, for her service as Family Law Section Liaison.

Hon. Tracey A. Yokich, Macomb County:  Outstanding Recognition Award, for her support and service to the Association.

Paul Jacokes, Macomb County:  Outstanding Executive Award for his outstanding leadership as president of the Association.

Kathy Oemke, Livingston County:  Service to the Board Award for her work as past president and her many years of hard work and dedication to the Association.


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