Budget Shortfall to Force Job Cuts
The San Diego Superior Court is facing a severe budget deficit, which is forcing the court to lay off dozens of employees.
The budget cut for 2018 is expected to be at least $6.0 million. Without those millions of dollars of funding, the court will be left with no choice but to cut some employees loose. The layoffs will consequently result in a reduction of court services.
The budget being approved for 2018 is expected to be significantly less than the funding that the court received back in 2008. The budget shortfall is owed to declining revenue and rising operational costs.
The San Diego Superior Court’s budget for fiscal-year 2018 is set at $171.7 million. This is about $30.0 million less than the budget approved in fiscal-year 2008, which stood at $200.5 million.
The Public Affairs Officer for the San Diego Superior Court, Karen Dalton, said that the court will not have enough funds to pay employee salaries, in the absence of grant money from the state.
Dalton explained in an e-mail that more than five-sixths of the court’s budget goes to paying employees. “Eighty-four percent of our budget is people,” said Dalton. “The court has no choice but to reduce services and employees in order to meet its latest budget…”
The court has offered its employees voluntary buyout packages. If enough people come forward voluntarily, layoffs may be avoided. Presiding Judge Jeffry Barton has said that nearly 60 people have so far applied for the buyouts. Among these employees are court commissioners, research attorneys, court reporters, courtroom clerks, business office clerks, , family court counselors, managers, and supervisors.
The court is also planning to stop the use of student workers and retired employees (who were able to be rehired for up to 120 days). Likewise, some judges may be forced to work on multiple assignments without staff to help. In addition, 10 courtrooms will also be closed in the absence of staff. The changes will also mean that court reporters won’t be provided in family court, and that paid overtime will be reduced.
The past few state budgets have directed some funds to the courts in order to balance off the court funding reductions, but there is no indication that this will happen again this year.
“Budget Cuts And Layoffs Coming to San Diego County Superior Court,” NBC San Diego, July 3, 2017.
“San Diego Superior Court to close courtrooms, cut staff because of budget shortfall,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 2, 2017.