The Iowa Supreme Court’s Chief Justice says the judicial system has been cut to the bone and another round of reductions would be devastating.Chief Justice Louis Lavorato says the courts are already finding it difficult to handle the overwhelming number of lawsuits and criminal complaints. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jeff Lamberti, a Republican from Ankeny, says the courts’ budget will be cut, by perhaps another five percent. He says they need to find a way to give Lavorato flexibility to make changes to get rid of inefficiencies to make up for the cuts.Lavorato has asked for more authority to manage the cuts. He wants to eliminate the state law that requires a highly-paid clerk of court in every county. Lavorato says he won’t get rid of the offices or the clerks — he just wants to reduce their salaries. He wants to be able to set his own staffing levels and get the supervisory ratio down to 10 to one. Lavorato says that would be a good management tool that other branches of government are using. He says it’s good news for taxpayers.But many lawmakers from rural areas refuse to give him the authority to end the policy of having clerks of court in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.
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