The Iowa Supreme Court has ordered over one week of unpaid leave days to make up for state budget cuts. Court communications officer, Steve Davis, says this is the first action the court is taking to cut costs. Davis says the Supreme Court ordered ten days of unpaid leave for all judges, magistrates, and court staff and the court also ordered that all court offices be closed on the days designated for unpaid leave.
Davis says the closings will save millions. He says the 10 days of “mandatory unpaid leave” for the 1,935 court employees will save $4.1 million for this fiscal year from now until June 30th. Davis says the court is working on additional cost-cutting measures and will announce those on Thursday. The 10 days the courts will be closed include Christmas and New Year’s eve.
Davis says the dates were chosen to minimize the impact on the public as much as possible, as he says the dates chosen are typically the least busy days of the week in most courthouses. Davis says the cuts will be felt by all those who use the court system.
“Regrettably, the closures will disrupt and reduce public access to the courts, and there will be gaps in services and more delays and backlogs will grow, ” Davis says. He says under the circumstances the cuts in public services “are really unavoidable, the state’s budget crisis, the way it is right now, demands drastic action.”
The court system had five days of unpaid leave earlier this year to make up for the mid-year cut to the budget. The days set for the unpaid leave and court closings are: December 4, 24,31; January 15; February 15; March 12,26; April 2; May 28 and June 18.