State of Kansas

Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507 301 SW 10th (785) 296-2256

For More Information, Contact Ron Keefover Education-Information Officer FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2009

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert E. Davis today announced that a legislative mistake in cutting an additional $11 million from the judiciary s budget may lead to up to 30 days of statewide court closures and unpaid furloughs for the court system s 1,589 nonjudicial employees in Fiscal Year 2010. Davis sent an electronic copy of a letter to all Judicial Branch employees late Monday afternoon advising them of the consequences of the $11 million cut, so they could prepare for the possibility of the court closings and furloughs should efforts to correct the shortfall when the Legislature returns in January be unsuccessful. The chief justice informed employees that the $11 million cut is in addition to a 2.75 percent across-the-board reduction that was adopted for the other branches of government and executive branch agencies. He said the cut also is in addition to other cost-savings measures that have been taken by the Judicial Branch beginning last November. We have been told that this additional cut was made in the Senate under the mistaken assumption that the Judicial Branch could raise its own unlimited funding through a surcharge added to docket fees. In fact, the surcharge approved in earlier legislation is limited in the types of filings on which it may be assessed and is capped at $10 per fee. There is no way that it can cover the additional cut, Chief Justice Davis said in his letter to employees. Davis said he had conversations with the governor and several legislators during the waning hours of the session in an attempt to get the shortfall restored; however, legislators left

News Release May 12, 2009 Page 2 Topeka Saturday without passing new legislation to restore the funding. The only alternative would be submission and passage of a supplemental budget request next January. Davis letter to employees listed a number of cost-savings efforts that have been put in place since the economy plummeted late last fall, including: • • • • • • Getting authority for the limited surcharge enacted; Imposing a statewide court system hiring freeze; Cancellation of the Fall judicial conference; Cuts in temporary hours for the district courts; Nonrenewal of a senior judge contract; And limitations on the use of retired judges to assist in the district courts.

The Chief Justice said the Court will look for additional efficiencies and cost savings, but the shortfall could require court closings and up to 30 days of statewide unpaid furloughs for all 1,589 nonjudicial employees. The consensus of the Supreme Court at this time is that no furloughs will be ordered at this time. If no relief is forthcoming early in the 2010 legislative session, it is anticipated that our nonjudicial employees could be sent home for approximately one week per month for the remainder of the fiscal year, he advised employees. Delaying any furloughs until the last prudent moment maximizes access to the courts and maximizes your and your family s ability to prepare for the impact on your personal finances, the letter to employees states. ###

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