The Iowa Supreme Court is instituting a hiring freeze after approving a budget for the Judicial Branch for the new fiscal year that begins July 1st.
Court spokesman Steve Davis says the nearly $179 million budget approved for the courts is the same amount as last year, but does not include any money for the more than five million dollars in negotiated salary increases and health insurance costs.
Davis says the hiring freeze will take care of some of the deficit. “That’ll save about 3.2 million of the shortfall and then another 834,000 savings is expected from keeping judicial vacancies open for about six months. And there will be additionally $1.4 million in savings through reductions in travel, furniture purchases, office supplies and postage,” according to Davis.
He says there are some 70 open positions in the court system right now that won’t be filled. “It won’t be as noticeable as say a court closure day where the clerk’s office is close,” Davis says. “But there will still be less staff, and holding the jobs open won’t stop the work from coming into the courthouse. It could cause delays, and there’ll be juvenile court officers who potentially will have less contact with the juveniles in most need of supervision, and the public will feel it that way.”
He says this year’s appropriation does not include a pay increase for judges, and says judges and magistrates have received one pay raise since 2008.