News Item
Mueske Appointed as District Administrator of Seventh and Eighth Judicial Districts

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Minnesota Judicial Council has approved the appointment of Debra Mueske as the District Administrator of the Seventh and Eighth Judicial districts. Her appointment was put forward by Seventh Judicial District Chief Judge Jay D. Carlson and Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Dwayne N. Knutsen on behalf of the 41 judges of the two districts. The appointment is effective on June 30, 2021.
“The 7th District judges look forward to working with Debra Mueske, continuing efforts for the 7th and 8th districts to work collaboratively to promote the efficient administration of justice, and continuing dedication to building public trust and confidence in the judiciary,” said Chief Judge Carlson.
“The 8th District judges are all very pleased that Deb has been selected to serve as our next District Administrator,” said Chief Judge Knutsen. “She has demonstrated a commitment to excellence, a strong work ethic, and the unique ability to work effectively with staff at all levels. Her skills and abilities will serve the District well.”
Prior to her appointment, Mueske dedicated 20 years of her career to the Minnesota Judicial Branch. She served as Deputy District Administrator for the Eighth Judicial District, Court Administrator in Kandiyohi, Meeker, and Swift counties, and as a senior court clerk in Kandiyohi County. Over the years, Mueske has also been involved with many committees and workgroups. She received an Associate in Arts degree from Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN, and a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) in Public Administration from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN. She is also a certified court executive through the Institute for Court Management at the National Center for State Courts.
Mueske replaces outgoing Seventh and Eighth Judicial District Administrator Timothy Ostby, who recently announced his retirement on June 29, 2021, after more than 37 years of service to the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
“Tim Ostby has been front and center during 30 years of transformations in the state court system. His distinguished service with the Judicial Branch is marked by his commitment and dedication to continuously improving court services to provide greater access to justice for Minnesotans,” said State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba.
Ostby began his career with the Judicial Branch as Traverse County Clerk of Courts in 1984, and then became the Nobles County Court Administrator in 1985. He served as Deputy District Administrator in the Seventh Judicial District from 1990 to 1992, Eighth Judicial District Administrator from 1992 to 2005, and then became the state’s first and only multi-district administrator when he started serving as District Administrator for both the Seventh and Eighth districts in 2005.
Ostby helped lead efforts to shift from county funding to state funding. His Eighth Judicial District conducted the 10-year pilot for state funding beginning in 1990. He has worked on court interpreting issues with the Court Interpreter Program and the Remote Interpreting Workgroup, as well as the major shift to electronic courts records as part of eCourtMN. Ostby was also greatly involved with the small county staffing initiative, which resulted in moving and centralizing certain court processing functions statewide. For instance, the centralized jury summoning process was taken on by the Ninth Judicial District, the centralized preparation of district court files that are appealed to the Court of Appeals was taken on by the Fifth Judicial District, and the centralized processing of child support magistrate orders was taken on by the Eighth Judicial District.