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photo of Marlon Brown in front of Michigan state capitolMarlon Brown

Recent IPA Alum Serves Michigan Courts

2008 MPA alumnus Marlon Brown is currently helping a state that is in real need. He is the Specialty Courts Management Information System (MIS) Coordinator for the Michigan Supreme Court’s State Court Administrative Office. He also holds a political appointment on the Warren (Mich.) city planning commission.

Last fall Brown ran in the Democratic primary for the Michigan House of Representatives.  He was one in a very crowded field of eight contenders.  As a first-time candidate, he received a little more than eight percent of the vote, despite the endorsements of The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News.  Even though he did not win the primary, the exposure paid immediate dividends. The mayor of Warren offered him the planning commission job.

Even while at IPA, Brown displayed a love for public service and wore his state loyalty on his sleeve. “I have always been passionate about government and public service,” he says, “so working for my home state is truly exciting.  I am also humbled each day that I walk into the Michigan Hall of Justice.  The building itself reminds me of the privilege that I have in serving the people of Michigan.”

As the MIS Coordinator, Brown’s duties include research, analysis, and developing recommendations on issues related to the trial courts, especially drug and mental-health courts.  He also provides technical assistance to the local courts that use the state’s case-management system.

Brown speaks about the challenges of working in the Michigan judiciary system. “One of the unique challenges of my position is serving as a resource person to district and circuit courts that use the state’s case-management [software] system. A second challenge was simply learning the judicial system and becoming acquainted with problem-solving courts and alternative-sentencing programs.”

Brown credits the University’s master’s program in public administration with preparing him for a government post. “Government careers require you to become knowledgeable on a lot of topics, and the graduate school experience at UD and IPA provided the necessary tools to become both proficient and fluent on matters of public policy. My biggest learning curve was adjusting to how the Judiciary works. However, the MPA program’s curriculum in organizational management and leadership provided a solid base of knowledge for me to work in just about any environment.”

Brown added, “Having had the perspective of working in the other branches of government is an extremely valuable asset to have in the Judiciary, and I obtained this experience [while at IPA] through both the Legislative Fellows Program and my summer internship with the Mayor of Baltimore.”

Brown learned some important lessons while running for political office.

“My campaign experience obviously gave me a great lesson in politics and the do’s and don’t’s of local elections.  However, I also gained a greater respect for political candidates and public officials.  From a more practical standpoint, I learned that playing politics is just as important, if not more so, than knowing policy. In addition, I learned that it’s important to follow your passions in life, even when there are obstacles in your way and the odds are against you.”

Brown is also an accomplished musician. He currently plays trombone with the Macomb County Community College Jazz Ensemble and serves as an organist, pianist, and choir director at his church.

photo courtesy of Marlon Brown