The Iowa Supreme Court announced more cuts Thursday to balance the budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1st. Rebecca Coulton, a spokesperson for Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, says they’re cutting operating expenses by $5.4-million. She says the bulk of the cuts, nearly $4.8-million, will come from a statewide workforce reduction.
Coulton says many of the positions are already vacant as the court has been building a bank of open positions in anticipation of the cuts — but 15 people will be laid off. Overall including the layoffs, some 50 positions will be left unfilled. Coulton says the court will also for the first time in several years delay filling some judgeships.
Coulton says they will fill vacant positions in the juvenile court and any judgeships where a judicial district can show "a compelling need to fill." Coulton says any open judge positions that don’t fit those two categories will not be filled. She says they project at least five or six retirements of judges where the position will be held open.
Coulton says the cuts will help the court meet its budget for now. Coulton says the impact won’t directly impact the public service as the court has "was careful to make cuts that will not affect the public directly." She says the staff will have to pick up more work and there will be delays in the system and the "quality might suffer."
Thirteen of the 15 layoffs are to court reporters. The court system will also pool court reporters to save money. The court system also cut approximately $635,000 in non-personnel expenses.