By Katie Mulvaney Journal Staff Writer ProJo 5/4/2018
Former state Traffic Tribunal Chief Magistrate William R. Guglietta is joining the Family Court staff as a mediator, part of a restructuring aimed at assisting parties representing themselves in divorce cases.
Family Court Chief Judge Michael B. Forte agreed to hire Guglietta, expanding the number of Family Court Mediation Services lawyers to four, according to courts spokesman Craig N. Berke.
“Judge Forte feels that mediation is a really great tool for self-represented litigants,” Berke said. Currently, about 50 percent of cases in Family Court are being self-litigated, he said.
Guglietta applied for the position, and was selected, in part, for Forte’s familiarity with the empathy Guglietta exhibited during his years as a prosecutor in Family Court, Berke said.
“He thinks he’s a great fit,” Berke said. The base salary for the position ranges from $79,753 to $90,456. In addition, Guglietta will receive 17-percent longevity pay for his years in state service, Berke said. He is expected to start May 14.
Forte is also launching a pilot screening program to assess whether pro se cases could be resolved short of trial through mediation, Berke said.
The hope is that the increased emphasis on mediation will prove less costly and time-consuming for litigants and the court.
The state Senate last month confirmed a former member of its own ranks, Domenic A. DiSandro III, to replace Guglietta as chief judge of the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell in March chose DiSandro to lead the court, instead of reappointing Guglietta, whose 10-year term had ended.
“He concluded he wanted a change in leadership at the Traffic Tribunal,” Berke said. Guglietta had earned $186,050 as head of the Traffic Tribunal.
John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, told The Journal that his group’s research showed that it was the first time a magistrate had been replaced at the expiration of his 10-year term.
Prior to being named chief magistrate, Guglietta worked as chief legal counsel for former House Majority Leader Gordon Fox and as a Cranston Municipal Court judge. He has done stints as a prosecutor in the state attorney general’s office and, in 1998, he ran unsuccessfully for attorney general