Many years ago when I decided to make public service my life’s work, I promised myself that I would base my service on several tenets that were of extreme importance to me. I promised that I would treat all my constituents with professionalism, empathy, and impartiality no matter what the situation. I also promised myself that at all times I would be transparent so that the people I serve would trust me. I recognize that the time that it takes to probate a will in Bergen County has been lengthier than usual over the past two months. The reason for the change has been a result of several instances whereby my staff has been unexpectedly reduced.
This reduction in staffing has been a result of several serious medical conditions, some of which have been life-threatening. We have also had as many as six people out at the same time due to COVID. There have been instances related to the issues outlined above that have left as few as two probate clerks working in the office on a given day. As all these employees have been on medical leave, I have been unable to replace them on a temporary basis to address the workload due to governmental budgetary constraints.
It is my belief that I have the best staff of any Surrogate’s Court in the State of New Jersey; however, when my staff is depleted as stated above we can only do so much. I have taken steps to replenish the office by hiring more staff and therefore hope to quickly shorten the wait time to probate a will. During my tenure as Surrogate, I believe I have always had a good relationship with the Bar Association in Bergen County. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience and understanding. We are getting back to normal and will continue to provide the type of great service you are used to from the Bergen County Surrogate’s Court.
/s/ Michael R. Dressler
Bergen County Surrogate