In a memo to all court employees Friday, State Court Administrator David K. Boyd announced that the Judicial Branch would resort to keeping vacancies open and enacting a furlough day to make up for a $3 million reduction to the judicial branch operating budget for the current fiscal year.
Originally, the deappropriation for FY 2017 was $7.7 million for the state’s court system, in order to bring the state budget into compliance. However, house and senate leadership crafted a different plan which reduced the cut to $3 million. According to Boyd, the Governor has indicated he would sign this bill.
In order to reduce the budget by $3 million over the next five months, Boyd said in the memo that the court system would have to turn to personnel costs. Currently, the judicial branch has 111 vacant positions, which includes 12 judgeships. Boyd says holding those positions vacant through the end of FY 2017 gets the courts within $400,000 of covering the $3 million deappropriation.
To make up the remaining deficit, all court offices, including clerk of court offices, will be closed and all judicial branch employees will take unpaid leave on Friday, May 26.
This $3 million deappropriation is a permanent cut, so Boyd says now the court system must prepare for a possible reduction of services in future fiscal years.