The justices of the Iowa Supreme Court ares asking the governor and legislature for an immediate infusion of cash in January to fund the courts through the current fiscal year that ends in June. Chief Justice Louis Lavorato says the money would be used to keep court offices open that are now being closed periodically to cut salary expenses. For the present budgeting year, employees in the state’s court system have been forced to take eight days of unpaid leave. He says it’s not fair to balance the budget on the backs of the employees. Lavorato says the cuts impact many Iowans. He says the clerk’s offices send out child support checks, people that want to file lawsuits are affected, as is any user of the legal system. He says in some districts if a litigant doesn’t want to go to another district for a case, that case is delayed. The court is asking for one-and-a-half million dollars. He says they’re asking for full funding of authorized positions. He says they have 50 to 60 vacancies they haven’t filled. he says they’re trying to get back to a level that’s manageable. Lavorato says the cuts have greatly hampered the efficiency of the court system. He says in their estimation, this lowers productivity, adds case proccessing delays, increases backlogs and diminishes service. He says that’s not to mention the high stress levels and increased workloads that undermines the morale and increases the turnover of the employees.
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