San Francisco Courts Face Budget Cuts
The San Francisco Superior Court has announced that employees will be forced to take unpaid furloughs because the court faces a budget shortfall. The employees taking the furloughs will be able to avoid layoffs, however.
The San Francisco Superior Court is facing a budget deficit of nearly $5.3 million.
The court has informed employees that it will be closing its clerk offices early on Fridays (at 1 p.m.). In addition, court staff will be required to take rotating Fridays off without compensation. The furloughs will begin in August, while the early closures will begin in September.
The court has indicated that it is considering all avenues to save money, including putting a hold on new hiring.
Presiding Judge Teri Jackson has said the budget deficit is the result of cuts in state funding. The State of California has cut the court’s funding by nine percent for fiscal-year 2018, which started on July 1, 2017. Jackson says this is the largest budget cut that a court has seen in any county.
As of now, the court’s state funding has been reduced to $51.7 million, following years of budget cuts. The first round of budget cuts began in 2011, after which the court was forced to cut some of its employees.
Back in 2008, before the Great Recession hit, the court’s budget stood at $90.5 million. At that time, the court was employing nearly 600 non-judicial employees. That number of employees has since dropped to roughly 430.
Jackson has stated that that court judges are not facing furloughs. However, they have voluntarily agreed to contribute towards the court’s funds so it can cover expenses. The presiding judge has revealed that she is requesting all court judges to contribute one day’s worth of their salary every month (about $509.00) from August 1, 2017 through June 2018. This money would then go toward paying for the court’s day-to-day operations.
The governor and state legislature of California have approved the budget for fiscal-year 2018, which includes around $3.7 billion in funding for the judiciary. This is nearly the same amount that was approved last year. California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, however, has been trying to convince state lawmakers that the trial courts require more funding.
“Budget cuts force SF courts to trim some services,” SF Gate, July 4, 2017.