INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Walking into the Incline Village Justice Court last Wednesday, a woman with a stack of forms approached the counter looking for procedural information on evicting a tenant for nonpayment.
There to help answer her questions was Ruby Cole.
“You walk them through, but you cannot advise them,” said Cole, the court’s interpreter clerk. “You can’t give advice. It’s basically procedures. … (They) have choices of how (they’d) want to proceed, so you give them the options.”
For the past 10 years those involved in local eviction cases, citations, small claims and restraining orders, and those in need of a translator, have had Cole as a resource.
Starting this week, however, that is no longer the case. Cole retired from the position. Her last day was Oct. 31.
“Her systems knowledge, her institutional knowledge, her community knowledge will definitely be missed,” said Judge E. Alan Tiras, a day before her departure.
When asked why she’s retiring, Cole said it’s just the right time — but it doesn’t make leaving easier.
“(It’s) bittersweet because it’s something ending,” she said. “… It’s a letting go of that you’ve been used to.”
Over her tenure, she has seen the court completely remodeled and make the transition to go paperless.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is the people.
“People are people; they’ll still make boo-boos,” she said. “That’s why we’re here.”
Interacting with the public on a regular basis was part of Cole’s job.
“You cannot get emotionally involved,” she said. “You professionally process the work, but there are people behind all those processes.”
Tiras praised Cole’s approach to her work.
“When dealing with people who come into court, she’s very professional, very knowledgable, very articulate in both English and Spanish,” he said. “She does a wonderful job in interactions with the public, but much of what she does is behind the scenes.”
Other responsibilities included taking payments at the window, processing paperwork, setting up files, inputting information into the court’s case management system, answering phone calls and acting as an interpreter when needed.
“It is an all-day (job),” Cole said. “… There hasn’t been much downtime because we are a small court, so we all interchange and help each other.”
The Incline Village Justice Court has four clerks, two bailiffs and one judge, said staff.
“We are losing a trusted, dedicated, caring person, not just an employee that the community will miss seeing at the court,” said Frankie Fash, supervising clerk.
While the court is losing Cole, the community isn’t.
Having moved to Incline Village in 1989, she intends to stay in the area and continue pastoring at Incline Village Foursquare Church and Iglesia Cristiana Vida Nueva — a Spanish mass offered at the Foursquare site at 918 Northwood Blvd. — with her husband, John.
“I’ve had three jobs for 10 years, and now I’m only going to have two jobs,” Cole said. “People say, ‘rest and relax,’ and I say, ‘Well, no, I’m just going to change focus.’”
Cole also intends to devote some of her newfound free time to being a grandmother and a homemaker.
Taking her place at the court is Elena Fragoso-Ayala, who Cole helped train during her last week on the job.
“I’m trying to leave everything completed or set out, so they’re not scrambling to find the answers,” Cole said. “My main goal is to make everything as smooth as possible for my co-workers.”
Learn more about Incline Village Justice Court at www.ivcbcourt.com/.
“People are people; they’ll still make boo-boos. That’s why we’re here.”