BISBEE — When John Schow learned that the Cochise County Court needed a new administrator, he jumped at the opportunity. If he got the job, he would be able to come back home.
Two months ago, Schow, 61, got the job he describes as the “CEO of the court” and he is settling in Cochise County, the place where he grew up. He sat down with the Herald/Review not only to talk about his new post, but also to describe what the Cochise County Court Administration is doing to keep the facilities as clean and safe as possible for the hundreds of people who come through the courts’ doors daily.
Herald/Review: How did you learn that the Cochise County Court needed a new court administrator?
John Schow: I found out about the job through friends. I wanted to get into court administration full time. I’m a certified court executive for the National Center for State Courts and the Arizona Supreme Court.
HR: Where were you working before you came here?
JS: I was in DuPage County, Illinois, where I was director of probation and court services. The opportunity to come back to Cochise County where I grew was very exciting to me.
HR: Where did you grow up?
JS: I grew up in Bisbee and Douglas. My father was a defense contractor overseas and when he retired we came back, then we moved to Tucson.
HR: How long have you been the court administrator?
JS: March 13 will be two months.
HR: What does a court administrator do?
JS: The court administrator is the CEO of the court. We run everything except the independent judicial divisions. We’re in charge of personnel, finance, all the operations of the court that make the courts run. We also run the probation departments and detention center. But we are not in charge of any of the elected positions either, such as the county attorney or the clerk of the court.
HR: Why did you want to be a court administrator?
JS: I like working with people. I like helping people. I’ve been involved in juvenile justice reform for about 20 years. After the Navy, I came back to Tucson and I became a juvenile probation officer.
HR: Do you have a family?
JS: I have a wife and children, but they’re still in Illinois. I have two adult children in Tucson. I have an adult step child and two children who are still in school — an 8th grader and a freshman in high school. They’re waiting for the school year to finish and then they’re coming here. They’re excited about it.
HR: Where are you living?
JS: In Warren.
HR: How is the Cochise County court administration safeguarding against COVID-19?
JS: We’re taking it very seriously. We’re working with the county health department. They’re giving us guidelines. We are also following also following the administrative order given recently by the Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice. We have to keep running because we are a vital service to the community.
HR: Describe some of the actions that are being taken at the courthouses to keep the public safe.
JS: We advise our own employees to stay home if they feel sick. If they come to work and start feeling sick, they should stay home. We’re cleaning our areas constantly. We’ve ordered more supplies so we can constantly keep cleaning everything. We do have procedures in place that aren’t new. They’re in place in case we have a natural disaster. We follow that.
HR: How often is the courthouse cleaned?
JS: The courthouse is cleaned every morning, before people arrive here. If we know we have a jury coming, we clean those areas. Bathrooms are sealed daily, which is standard.
HR: Would the courthouse be in danger of closing if the COVID-19 situation grew dire in this area?
JS: That would be the call of our presiding judge, the governor and the supreme court justices. We have procedures in place in case something like that occurs.