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A Big Heart in a Small Package: Court officer honored as Employee of the Year

November 6, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hon. Laura Lee Jacobson (left) and Capt. Kevin Gatherer (right) presented court officer Bibi Mohabier with the Employee of the Year Award of the Kings County Supreme Court during a ceremony on Thursday. Eagle photo by Mario Belluomo
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Employees in the Kings County Supreme Court know that when it’s their birthday, the first person to greet them with a cupcake will be Court Officer Bibi Mohabier. They also know that when someone steps out of line, that same sweet court officer will be there to step in.

“She’s the best of both worlds,” said Capt. Kevin Gatherer. “She’s a sweetheart — [a] wonderful, kind, beautiful human being. But at the same time, she is forceful when she has to be, and gets respect when necessary. She’s no pushover. That phrase about mistaking kindness for weakness…don’t with her, because she’s very kind, but very strong.”

Mohabier was celebrated by her colleagues as she was awarded the New York State Supreme Court Second Judicial District Employee of the Year Award by Justice Laura Jacobson during a special ceremony in the packed courthouse lobby on Thursday.

“Born and raised in Brooklyn, for a decade Officer Mohabier has been a valued member of our courthouse community,” said Administrative Judge Lawrence Knipel. “She’s currently assigned to Justice Jacobson in Part 21. Officer Mohabier is pleasant, cheery and communicates well while always maintaining proper security in the courtroom.”

While Mohabier may not be the tallest employee in the courthouse, she commands the respect of the judges, lawyers and other employees in the building. Her co-workers say that she brings a smile and support wherever she goes. She is known for her birthday cupcakes and circulating cards when a court employee is sick or loses a loved one.

Justice Jacobson, who is the chair of the Employee of the Year committee, said that for years she has wanted to nominate Mohabier for this award, but always refrained because Mohabier works in her part. Jacobson explained that so many others nominated her this year, so there was no other choice.

“I still remember watching Bibi on her first day talking to a rather large and tall lawyer who was arguing with the clerk and approached my bench without permission,” Jacobson recalled. “She stepped right in his path. I remember her long ponytail down her back, her head tilted up so that she could face this lawyer eye-to-eye. She had no hesitation, no fear, and in a no-nonsense fashion, took charge of the situation.”

As the entire lobby of the Brooklyn Supreme Court chanted her name, Mohabier accepted her award from Justice Jacobson and gave a brief speech.

“I’d like to thank the administrative judge, the chief clerks, the deputy chief clerk; I’d like to give a special thanks to Judge Jacobson and Major Luz Bryan, even though she couldn’t be here, and the rest of the Employee of the Year Committee. I’d also like to thank my family, friends and my court family. I’m so blessed to work here and to have all of you in my life.”

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