Magazine article Business Credit

25 Years Ago.1987

Magazine article Business Credit

25 Years Ago.1987

Article excerpt

Legslative COMMENTARY

U. S. Trustee Program Implementation

Moving Ahead

One of the major legislative accomplishments that NACM can point to in the last Congress is the approval of a permanent, nationwide U.S. Trustee program within the Department of justice. NACM had been a strong supporter of this effort.

The program was originally created on a test basis by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 to improve the administration of bankruptcy cases and serve as a watchdog against fraud. Originally limited to 10 Trustees, under the new law there will be 21, appointed by the Attorney General and covering 88 of the Federal judicial districts. The remaining six districts, in Alabama and North Carolina, will have until 1992 to come under the program.

Operating guidelines have been worked out to ease the transition to the new nationwide program and to avoid duplication of effort by the offices of the U.S. Trustee and those of the bankruptcy clerks. First consideration in staffing for the nationwide U.S. Trustee system is being given to current Estate Administrators, with a trial training program being developed for the attorney estate administrators.

Since the new program was signed into law in October of 1986. the focus has been on expanding the coverage of the 10 existing Trustees. Beginning as early as October of this year. Phase II will be implemented in which the remaining 1 1 U.S. Trustees will be chosen and the areas of the country not now served will have new offices established.

Perhaps one of the most exciting elements of the new program is an important new electronic case management project, authorized on a "demonstration" basis in three Federal judicial districts: Kansas, Central California and New Jersey. This program will provide a means of maintaining a computerized case file of all relevant debtor information contained in pétitions and schedules (and any amendments) as well as up-to-date records of case openings, closings, hearings, and the filing of all motions, trustee appointments, pleadings and responses. Access to such information will be made available to the general credit community for a fee, with the actual details to be worked out during the two-year pilot.

On-line remote access to this system is envisioned for creditors, as well as the possibility of centralized "user-centers" for those who do not have the requisite computer capability. According to Trustee program officials, the pilot program's implementation is proceeding very well. However, given the comprehensive nature of the ultimate project and the need to design a pilot that can eventually accomodate a nationwide program, it is expected that NACM members in the three pilot districts must wait until 1989 to begin accessing the system. …

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