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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
COURTHOUSE IN CRISIS
This was the scene Tuesday morning, as the lines to get into the courthouse stretched from the rear entrance (by the bridge to the jail) around the corner. If the line was any longer it would have met the line waiting to get into the front entrance. The citizens who own this courthouse should not have to wait for an hour to get inside. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).
And yet, we wait in vain while those in charge of scheduling court cases refuse to even address this crisis.
More cases, more defendants, more court costs being paid, and yet, there is less money for the courts. Something smells fishy to us.
This is an email Chief Judge Farina sent out today on the court's fiscal crisis:
We have received further disturbing information regarding the status of the State Court budget. In addition to the expense budget reduction we communicated last week, the court has been advised that reductions in the salary budget in excess of $12 million dollars may occur this fiscal year. One of the scenarios being contemplated to meet this unprecedented cut will be to enforce furloughs statewide for all court employees with the exception of judges. This will mean 22 days of unpaid leave for state funded court employees whose position is funded in the circuit court budget and 58 days for state funded court employees whose position is funded in the county court budget to occur by June 30, 2008.This is not the type of news we were anticipating. We are hoping that this will not be the ultimate solution to meet this major additional setback in our financial picture. However, please know that there are many who are tirelessly expressing how serious a dilemma this represents for the judicial branch, the courts' ability to provide access to justice and quality service to the public and for all of us. We will continue to keep you updated regarding this fiscal crisis.
Joseph P. Farina, Chief Judge
Ruben O. Carrerou,
Rumpole says: If we're reading this correctly, county court employees will be forced to forfeit 2 MONTHS PAY (58 days) just to keep their jobs. Something stinks.