Court Crisis Appears to be Diverted...

Monday, March 3, 2008

For now. A deal has been worked out with the legislature wherein a one-time shot of funds will be added to the judiciary budget. Daily News Summary

However, the court system was warned last summer to hold back 1% of their budget per quarter in anticipation of decreased revenues. Although a number of the chief judges complained that the lion's share of their budget is salaries and nothing more could be cut, other court system departments, such as public defender and state attorney's offices in Palm Beach County, applied the brakes to any new hirings.

The cuts are the result of a decline in Florida's sales tax collections as well as slowed real estate deals, which combined make up most of Florida's revenues. The furloughs were to range from 13 to 58 days for county court employees. The estimate for those impacted in Palm Beach was ~184.

So crisis avoided for the moment, but it's only to get worse as the revenues probably will decline throughout 2008. Given what those employees who were affected went through emotionally for over a week, I doubt if many of the broken bridges of trust will be mended. Those in the judicial system responsible for budget management need to get their act together. Cut out fluff like judicial college and retreats for one thing. The judges can do webinars like the rest of us and save on the cost of hotels, meals and mileage.

One of the problems is simply because someone is a chief judge or in a judicial administration role doesn't mean s/he has any aptitude, training or grasp of managment or people skills.

But I'll leave that for another post. :) Carol