Morin retires

Pete Morin, Mercer County court administrator, talks with guests at a reitrement party for himself Thursday at the Mercer County Courthouse.

MERCER – After 35 years in the court administration business, Peter A. Morin is passing the torch.

Morin has served Mercer County for 25 years and is the longest-running court administrator in the county’s history. 

“Pete’s been a great asset to the county,” President Judge Robert G. Yeatts said. “He’s well known not just in the county courts but in the state courts. He’s well known, well liked, well respected. We’re happy for him, but we’re sorry to see him go.”

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts has appointed Bo D. McCleary as the new district court administrator for Mercer County, the 35th Judicial District of Pennsylvania. 

McCleary, formerly an assistant court administrator in Clarion County, began work in Mercer on June 8 and will assume all duties on Monday. The four judges of Mercer County, under the leadership of Yeatts, selected McCleary from a field of candidates with final approval made by the AOPC.

Morin, who was appointed by then-President Judge Francis J. Fornelli, has served for more than 35 years in the field of judicial management in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Morin is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Court Management and is a graduate fellow with the Institute for Court Management of the National Center for State Courts.

The 63-year-old Morin has been married for 39 years and has two children. He has also advised the speech team at Mercer High School for 17 years.

Morin has agreed to come back to court now and again to help his successor, Yeatts said.

“The idea of a court administrator’s office is to take care of scheduling, budgeting matters for the court, HR matters, technology matters, dealing with AOPC and do all these things so the judges are free to do all the things they’ve been elected to do,” Morin said.

Yeatts said the past 2½ years have been hard in Mercer County courts, with just having two judges for awhile and then dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When this all started, the first question was, ‘Are we going to remain open?’” Morin said. “The decision was made that we weren’t going to close. We worked hard to redo our evidence display systems, which included a videoconferencing element.”

So now, the judges can conduct hearings with inmates over videoconferencing instead of bringing them over from the jail.

“We kept the work flowing,” Morin said. “Hopefully as a result of the work we’ve done, the bubble of work that’s going to catch up to the courts in October and November will be less than some other courts will have to deal with.”

Morin said he will mostly miss working with the people in the courthouse.

“All the staff, all the offices, everybody is professional and everybody is good at what they do,” Morin said. “It’s been a wonderful place to work. This is the highlight of my career to work here. The staff in my office and all the other court staff — just great people, who really want to see that things are done right. It’s been an honor to work with them.”

Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: mklaric@sharonherald.com