UPDATE: ACCOUNTING FOR THE 38% INCREASE OVER TEN YEARS IN THE JUDICIAL BRANCH’S BUDGET

The Hanging Shad reported that the state judicial branch’s budgeted staff positions increased 38 percent since 2001. But there is more to the story as to why it increased by that amount. Always striving to be absolutely fair, The Shad needs to clarify and correct certain elements of the first report.

The Shad reported that in 2001, the judiciary had 3,051 employees. This year, the number was 4,201. That’s an increase of just about 38 percent. But the report also said that reason for the increase was not because of the addition of marshals from old sheriff’s system who were switched over to the judicial branch. Judicial branch spokesperson Melissa Farley points out that actually, the marshals were added as “budgeted positions” in 2003 and resulted in an employee number increase of 863 employees.

The confusion comes because Public Act 0099 states that the court security marshals (the men and women who we see checking people at the courthouse doors and driving prisoners to and from the court) would become judicial branch employees in 2000. Under the section titled, “Transfer Sheriff Staff and Function; -L: The Courthouse security and transportation functions of the sheriffs shall be transferred to the Judicial Department on Dec. 1st, 2000 if a constitutional amendment if approved by the voters…” (Which it was).

However Farley points out that the positions were not included in the department’s budget until 2003. In the three-year gap, she says the positions “went through the Finance Advisory Council process.”

Also, positions were added to the department’s budget through legislative mandates—more adult and juvenile probation officers and more juvenile detention staff.

The Shad regrets the confusion and hopes this sets the record straight.

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