On June 21, 2011 primaries will be held for the democratic and republican candidates seeking to become the next Judge of Probate for the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Probate Court. Patch asked each candidate to answer a questionnaire to give residents information about his or her background. For additional election coverage visit Elections 2011.
Name: Ellin M. Grenger
Hometown: Ledyard (Gales Ferry)
Party Affiliation: Democrat
- Bachelor of Arts in Communication and English, Rutgers University
- Juris Doctor, Quinnipiac University School of Law
- Alternate Dispute Resolution / Mediation Certificatio
- Child Welfare Law Specialist Certification
- Judge of Probate, Ledyard Probate District January 2007–January 2011
- Principal, Grenger Law Offices – practice focused on Estate Settlement, Juvenile Matters, (Abuse, Neglect, Delinquency and Family With Service Needs Petitions), Real Estate and Small Business Transactions since 2002.
- Associate, Sawyer Law Firm, New London, Connecticut 2001–2002
- Staff Attorney, Quinnipiac University Legal Clinic, 1999–2000
- Elected to four-year-term as Ledyard’s Judge of Probate, November 2006
- Hospice of Southeastern Connecticut, Planned Giving Committee Member
- Family With Service Needs Local Implementation Service Team, Member
- Ledyard Education Advancement Foundation, Trustee and Secretary
- Ledyard Women’s Club (CT Junior Women) Past President
Married to Bob Grenger for 18 years; he is a Software Developer, Engineering Specialist at General Dynamics Electric Boat. Children: Erica (7th grade) and Justin (Kindergarten)
Why are you running for this office? I am running because I enjoyed my term as Ledyard’s Judge of Probate, which ended this past January with the consolidation of the Ledyard Court into the regional Court. During my term, I was able to assist families with difficult decisions and situations while upholding the law; I enjoyed having the ability to make a decision while also striving to make a difference. My decision to run is also based on the fact that I am the most qualified candidate, with the most relevant experience, as I have already held this office.
What sets you apart from the other candidates? I am uniquely qualified to serve, as I am the only candidate who has previously served as Judge of Probate, has already completed the required Judicial training, and has worked on a daily basis as a Judge of Probate with the diverse population the Probate Court serves.
What’s been the biggest recent success of the Connecticut Probate Court System? Tremendous effort and partnership were required to achieve consolidation, especially as each attempt to plan for the merger of the smaller courts met with significant resistance from many stakeholders within the system. Maintaining the community flavor of the Court system as part of this process was a significant positive outcome.
What’s been the biggest failure/challenge? The merger has raised a lot of questions related to accessibility of the Court for the population it serves. The new Judge in this new Court will have a unique opportunity to work through these issues and engage is some creative problem solving on a case by case basis, while influencing the climate and culture of the new Court. Despite the outstanding service the Acting Judges Jeffrey McNamara (of the East Lyme/Montville/Salem District) and Mathew Greene (of the New London/Waterford District) and the Court staff are providing, it is not realistic to expect that the Court will have achieved its maximum potential for personal, accessible, and compassionate service until a new full-time, on-site Judge has assumed the leadership and set the tone for this new Court.
What, if anything, would be different if you were elected probate judge? The Court in its current state is functioning well despite the unknowns. The former Groton Probate Court was one known for providing public service in a family -friendly atmosphere. If I do return as Judge of Probate in this new Court, I will ensure that this tradition continues, while also using available resources to promote efficiency in the handling of matters, and providing prompt and diligent attention to the citizens and matters coming before the Court.