A veteran court bailiff could feel the sincerity in her voice.
Bill Saus, a Medina Municipal Court bailiff since the mid-1980s, said he noticed the quality this spring when he served as a juror in a civil case in Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands’ court.
As soon as he began to interact with Dorianne Denard, the judge’s bailiff, Saus said he sensed immediately that she worked extremely well with people.
“She was very, very sincere. I could tell it in her voice. She has a really deep appreciation for people,” Saus said.
At his urging, Rowlands nominated Denard and she was chosen this month as the winner of the state’s Court Officer of the Year award. Denard has been her bailiff since Rowlands was elected to the bench in 2008.
Board members of the Ohio Bailiffs and Court Officers Association, which was founded in 1976, selected the winner.
Denard, 43, will be honored in Columbus tonight during the organization’s annual banquet at the Ohio Supreme Court building on South Front Street.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who will retire after serving 16 years on the high court, will be the featured speaker.
“I am humbled,” Denard said in a Beacon Journal interview this week.
In Rowlands’ August nomination letter to the court officers association, the judge said “it speaks volumes for Dorianne’s exemplary performance that another bailiff suggested her for this honor.”
Rowlands said Denard manages her entire criminal docket, with about 35 new cases assigned to the court each month.
The judge singled out Denard’s “calm, professional demeanor” and problem-solving skills. “Her ability to calm frightened, confused or angry people is remarkable. We often marvel,” the judge wrote, “at how well she juggles many vastly different matters and temperaments, all while keeping the court’s work right on schedule.”
Denard, a 1987 graduate of Cleveland’s John Adams High School, said her people skills came from a previous, 20-year career as a customer service sales representative and, from an early age, her upbringing by a single mother, Linda Denard, who raised three children.
“None of us ever ended up in a situation such as those that I see [in court] on a daily basis. And that’s a blessing to me, that my mother was able to instill something [special] in all of us,” Denard said.
Saus, the veteran bailiff who lives in Cuyahoga Falls with his wife, said she has the type of presence in which she “graciously commands” everyone she deals with in court.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.