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  • Originally posted by LAWSON09 View Post
    Wow!!! That brawl was total madness. I also hope those officers recover soon. OCA needs to take court security more seriously. Someone could of gotten killed.

    Comment


    • Prudenti taking over as courts' chief administrator

      ALBANY, N.Y., Nov 30 - The New York State court system will have a new chief administrator Thursday, the same day court officials are releasing their budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.

      A. Gail Prudenti of Suffolk County, who has served as the presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, since 2002, will take the reins as chief administrative judge, taking over for Ann Pfau, who is stepping down after more than four years in the role.

      Over the past two years, the court system has faced budget cuts and layoffs while caseloads have steadily risen. In an interview with Reuters last month, Prudenti did not identify particular cost-cutting initiatives she was considering, but said she would take a close look at all court operations.

      "I'm sure there are many, many things we are doing right and places we could do better," she said.

      A spokesman for the Office of Court Administration would not comment on the upcoming budget proposal ahead of its Thursday release. State agencies have been told by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget office to trim 2.5 percent in spending for fiscal year 2013, which begins April 1, 2012, to help close a projected $3.5 billion budget gap. Cuomo, a Democrat, was elected on a fiscally conservative platform and closed a $10 billion deficit this year without raising taxes or borrowing.

      Last year, OCA defied a request by the first-year governor to pare back operations by 10 percent, and instead proposed cuts of about $70 million. The court system was hit with an additional $100 million in cuts when the budget passed at the end of March.

      CUOMO DOING 'EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD BE DOING'

      Pfau was widely lauded for her handling of the cuts, which included shorter court hours and cuts to mediation and day-care programs.

      Prudenti said Cuomo "is doing exactly what he should be doing."

      Prudenti graduated from Marymount College and obtained her LLB from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. She spent two years at the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, after which she worked in private practice from 1982 to 1991. Before being appointed to the Second Department, Prudenti sat as a surrogate judge in Suffolk County for five years and served as an acting justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1996 to 2000.

      Members of the legal community described Prudenti as well-liked and diplomatic.

      "She is a consensus-builder, so in a time of great stress and difficulty in the court system, she is someone who you would look up to. She'd be a calming influence on the court," said Steve Younger, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and the immediate past president of the New York State Bar Association.

      Prudenti is a Republican with ties to the Long Island GOP establishment. Her father, Anthony Prudenti, was the head of the Suffolk County Republican Party in the early 1980s, and her husband, Robert Cimino, served as the county's attorney under Republican County Executive Robert Gaffney. Cimino is now with the firm Lewis Johs in Melville.

      Pfau is moving to a program in Brooklyn Supreme Court aimed at settling medical malpractice suits out of court. The program has received a federal grant, and she will oversee its expansion.

      Comment


      • OCA's 2013 Fiscal Budget

        Does anyone have information on OCA's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013? It was released today.

        Comment


        • http://www.courts.state.ny.us/admin/.../Budgets.shtml


          Originally posted by Cravan View Post
          Does anyone have information on OCA's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013? It was released today.

          Comment



          • Thanks for the link. I read through the budget and did not see any funding for a new recruit class. Maybe I am wrong. I did see a 27 million dollar increase to give judges a raise. Check out the budget summary for public safety.


            COURTS OF ORIGINAL JURISDICTION 2012-13 Budget Request: $314,577,410
            PUBLIC SAFETY PROGRAM

            Program Description

            This Program includes funding to support the security needs of the trial courts.
            Public Safety: Security for the trial courts is provided in one of two ways: in New York City
            and in some locations outside the City, specially-trained Unified Court System employees perform
            these services. In many upstate locations, the Unified Court System contracts with local sheriffs or
            police departments to provide security. The Program also supports the Department of Public Safety,
            which develops protocols and monitors the implementation of public safety policies; the Court Officer
            Training Academies, which provide comprehensive training to Judiciary security staff; and the Applicant Verification Unit, which conducts background checks on potential Court Officer candidates.

            Summary of 2012-13 Funding Request: 2012-13 Budget Request: $314,577,410
            Public Safety Personal Service: 281,452,815
            Nonpersonal Service: 33,124,595
            Maintenance Undistributed: 0

            The Public Safety All Funds budget request is $314.6 million, or a decrease of $6.6 million
            (-2.1%) from the current year adjusted appropriation.

            The personal service request of $281.5 million represents a decrease of $7.2 million (-2.5%)
            from the current year adjusted appropriation. This includes funding for filled nonjudicial positions.
            Funding is also included for the payment of increments, longevity bonuses, uniform allowance and
            location pay, as required by law, for all eligible employees. Also reflected in the personal service
            request is $6.9 million for overtime. The overtime request, which represents a decrease of $8.4 million from the current year, reflects the implementation of strict controls in the current year.
            Nonpersonal service funding supports usual and necessary expenses associated with operations
            and administration including: security supplies, repairs of equipment and travel.

            The nonpersonal service request is $33.1 million, or an increase of $539,601 (1.7%) over current
            year funding. The increase is attributable to fringe benefit increases in contractual security and real
            estate rental increases for court officer training academies. These are partially offset by expenditure-
            based reductions in supplies and materials and other general services; and a decrease in telephones
            as a result of cost saving measures.

            Comment


            • Judiciary Budget

              In the upcoming fiscal year, the court system is facing approximately $70 million in cost
              increases, including $27.7 million for the first judicial pay increase in more than 13 years, and more
              than $21.3 million for contractually-required increments for eligible non-judicial employees. However,
              as a result of the ongoing operational review and the specific cost-cutting measures discussed above,
              the Judiciary is able to present a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 that represents a slight
              reduction, in both appropriation and cash, from the current year budget. The grand total General Fund
              appropriation request for 2012-2013 is $2.30 billion, a $3.9 million (or .17 percent) decrease from
              current year funding. The grand total General Fund cash disbursement requirement for 2012-2013
              is $2.31 billion, a $3.5 million (or .15 percent) decrease from the current year cash level.
              Last edited by Cravan; 12-02-2011, 08:44 AM.

              Comment


              • NY state court system releases $2.3 billion budget proposal

                ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 1 (Reuters) - New York State court administrators on Thursday unveiled a budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 that cuts overall spending slightly while raising salaries for judges and increasing funding for legal aid for the poor.

                The $2.3 billion spending plan, submitted to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, proposes to cut $3.5 million, or 0.15 percent, in spending from the current fiscal year despite $70 million in increased costs, including nearly $28 million in salary hikes for New York's 1,300 trial judges.

                The court system is currently grappling with the fallout from $170 million in cuts implemented in April, which have necessitated hundreds of layoffs, shorter court hours and program cutbacks.

                "The judiciary is able to present this negative-growth budget, despite increased costs, as a result of ongoing reassessment of court operations and a rigorous cost-cutting program," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote in a letter to state officials.

                For the second straight year, court administrators have proposed only marginal funding for judicial hearing officers -- retired judges appointed to handle specialized cases. Many former judges have volunteered for the roles, and court officials said they expect that trend to continue.

                Court officials estimate the system will lose about 200 employees through attrition next year, but will not have to resort to layoffs to plug budget gaps, according to the executive summary accompanying the budget. The court system has lost about 1,300 employees over the last two years, including more than 500 to layoffs.

                But the executive summary warned that any cuts beyond Thursday's proposals "could seriously jeopardize the ability of the courts to fulfill their core mission."

                'GIVES US FLEXIBILITY'

                State law requires the governor to include the judiciary's unamended spending proposals in his executive budget, which is due by Feb. 1. The budget is then handed to state lawmakers, who conduct public hearings and closed-door talks before April 1 -- their deadline to pass the budget.

                New York is facing a budget gap of at least $3 billion for the fiscal year 2013, and Cuomo's office recently urged agency heads to decrease spending by 2.5 percent across the board. The state constitution bars the governor from telling the court system how to budget and from amending its proposals, but he still wields political influence over the legislature.

                Cuomo and Lippman have been at odds over the amount needed to run the court system.

                Earlier this year, Cuomo urged a 10 percent across-the-board cut in spending on government operations, and chided the judiciary for presenting a proposal that fell far below that mark. The legislature added an additional $100 million in cuts to the court system in the current budget.

                Thursday's proposal "gives us the flexibility to ensure this year's cuts don't impose hardships on the courts or litigants," said Ronald Younkins, the chief of operations of the state court system. For example, court hours were shortened by 30 minutes earlier this year, but that requirement could be "relaxed" in some circumstances if Thursday's proposals survive the budget process.

                INDIGENT LEGAL SERVICES TOP PRIORITY

                The proposed budget sets aside $27.7 million for judicial raises, which were recommended for trial court judges in August by an independent panel. The 27 percent pay hike, slated to take effect over three years, comes after 12 years without a raise.

                The proposal also sets aside $21.3 million in contractually-required raises for non-judicial union employees.

                Court officials expect to save about $20 million in retirement and Social Security contributions for laid-off workers.

                Thursday's budget does not include the $10,000 stipends given to state trial judges this year, which were doled out in recognition of the dozen years the judges went without a raise.

                Programs that provide free civil legal services to those who can't afford lawyers also received a boost, with the judiciary requesting $25 million, which is double the current funding. That money would be doled out, mainly to non-profit groups, after a competitive-bidding process concludes next year.

                Indigent legal services has been a top priority for Lippman since he was appointed chief judge in 2009.

                The proposal also includes $15 million for the state's Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund, which is typically funded by interest on money held in escrow during real-estate transactions and is used to pay for a range of court programs. Since real-estate transactions have declined over the last few years and interest rates have plummeted, Younkins said, IOLA revenue has dropped.

                EVENING HOURS FOR SMALL CLAIMS COURT REDUCED

                Additional savings are expected from back-room efficiencies, a decrease in the purchase of printed legal materials and the introduction of web-based training for court personnel in place of face-to-face sessions.

                Under Thursday's request, funding would also be cut for child-care centers and mediation programs and evening hours would be reduced in Small Claims Court.

                Aid to localities, which is used to build and maintain court facilities around the state, would be increased 6.2 percent, to $99.2 million, while spending for state court operations typically remained steady.

                Morris Peters, a spokesman for Cuomo's Budget Division, said the governor was reviewing the proposal but declined to comment further.

                Vincent Doyle, the president of the New York State Bar Association, applauded the judiciary's efforts to rein in spending.

                "The court system has submitted a bare-bones request, recognizing that, in hard economic times, the Judiciary, like the other two branches of government, is called upon to strike a balance between its needs and fiscal reality," Doyle said in a statement.

                Comment


                • Hey I agree it doesn't look so good...and this is BEFORE Cuomo has his say. But Hey, anything can happen. I hope at a minimum they can get a class in that takes care of you guys from the last exam who got royally screwed.

                  Originally posted by Cravan View Post
                  Thanks for the link. I read through the budget and did not see any funding for a new recruit class. Maybe I am wrong. I did see a 27 million dollar increase to give judges a raise. Check out the budget summary for public safety.

                  Comment


                  • NYS Court Budget 2012-2013

                    This part of the budget may or may not be our only hope of getting in a recruit class. Let's see what happens.

                    While the total size of the court system’s non-judicial
                    workforce will decrease further, the budget will allow the courts to fill a few critical operational positions that maximize the efficiency of the courts.
                    Last edited by Cravan; 12-02-2011, 09:23 AM.

                    Comment


                    • I think I remember reading that the governor wanted the budget cut by about 2% more this year which it looks like they did. So I would think the budget should not have to be altered too much to pass his approval.

                      Also does anyone know about how many officers retire each year?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Retriever View Post
                        Hey I agree it doesn't look so good...and this is BEFORE Cuomo has his say. But Hey, anything can happen. I hope at a minimum they can get a class in that takes care of you guys from the last exam who got royally screwed.
                        Thank you very much for the positivity. I do not feel as optimistic anymore about getting this job. It is time to move on.
                        Last edited by Cravan; 12-02-2011, 01:25 PM.

                        Comment


                        • This is included in the budget:

                          There would be no layoffs, but a workforce that is already down 8 percent (about 1,300 positions) as a result of early retirements and layoffs would continue to decline through attrition as only a handful of essential positions are filled. It is projected that some 200 employees will leave the court system's employ and will not be replaced.

                          There would be no new appropriations for capital projects, although the budget would re-appropriate $8 million in bonded funds to develop a court officer training academy in Brooklyn.
                          Last edited by Cravan; 12-02-2011, 01:32 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Though Lean, Court Budget Tries to Ease Impact of Prior Cuts

                            John Caher ContactAll Articles
                            New York Law Journal

                            December 2, 2011

                            Bar Leaders Say Plan Reflects Courts' Needs, Fiscal Reality

                            ALBANY - The judiciary yesterday submitted a cost-cutting, negative-growth $2.3 billion budget that absorbs $70 million in new expenses—mainly for salary increases and expansion of civil legal services—yet still comes in $3.5 million, or .15 percent, below this year's spending plan.

                            Under the proposal delivered to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders:

                            • Judges would receive their first raise in 13 years, at a total cost of $27.7 million. The 17 percent hike is the first of a three-year, phased-in increase totalling 27 percent.

                            • The budget does not include the $10,000 supplemental stipend judges received this year in recognition of their years without a raise and to cover such expenses as bar dues and the purchase of legal materials.


                            • Non-judicial employees would receive contractually required raises totaling $21.3 million.

                            • Funding for a civil legal services initiative that aids non-profit providers would double to $25 million, the same amount requested last year and recommended by a task force.

                            • There would be no layoffs, but a workforce that is already down 8 percent (about 1,300 positions) as a result of early retirements and layoffs would continue to decline through attrition as only a handful of essential positions are filled. It is projected that some 200 employees will leave the court system's employ and will not be replaced.

                            • The overtime restrictions that this year resulted in courts closing down at 4:30 p.m. and diminished hours for small claims court and weekend arraignments would be "relax[ed]" somewhat to ensure that courts and operations function during normal business hours.

                            • Funding for judicial hearing officers would not be restored, meaning that only a few JHOs remain on the paid workforce. Several dozen, however, have volunteered to carry their caseloads without compensation, although it is unclear how many will continue working for free for another year (NYLJ, Dec. 1).

                            • Most courts and court operations would be funded at essentially the same level as this year, typically with a variance of less than 1 percent up or down. However, community courts would be cut 3.4 percent and drug courts would receive 1.9 percent less.

                            • The budget includes $6.4 million for a legislatively mandated program that imposes a cap on the number of cases attorneys providing services to indigent criminal defendants are allowed to carry. When fully implemented on April 1, 2014, caseloads will be limited to 400 misdemeanors or 150 felonies in a 12-month period.

                            • There would be no new appropriations for capital projects, although the budget would re-appropriate $8 million in bonded funds to develop a court officer training academy in Brooklyn.

                            The budget delivered Thursday is the last for Ann Pfau, who left her post as chief administrative judge to take on a new assignment administering a program that promotes early settlement of medical negligence cases through judge-directed negotiations. The task of defending the budget before the Legislature now falls to A. Gail Prudenti, the former presiding justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department, who took over yesterday as chief administrative judge.

                            'Negative Budget'

                            Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in an interview described the budget as "a slightly negative budget in the context of a $70 million increase in costs" that seeks to "round the edges and ease the impact on the public of the budget cuts" of this year.

                            The increased expenses are offset by savings in personnel costs and employee fringe benefits.

                            The budget projects a $15.4 million savings in retirement costs and a $4.7 million decrease in Social Security contributions as the total size of the non-judicial workforce decreases by about 200 through attrition and only a "few critical operational positions" are filled, according to a message submitted with the budget.

                            Judge Lippman said there will be some easing of the overtime restrictions that now require courts to close at 4:30 p.m. and other measures, such as limits on weekend arraignments, that most inconvenienced the public.

                            "By keeping the workforce downsized, we hope to be able to ease, somewhat, the 4:30 p.m. closing time, the arrest-to-arraignment situation in the city, the reduced nights of small claims, the reduced call of jurors—all of these things that have had the most impact on the public," Judge Lippman said. "Make no mistake, we will be vigilant in holding overtime down, but we do need to serve the public until the normal closing time of 5 p.m."

                            Civil Legal Services

                            The increased aid for indigent defense is one of the few new discretionary expenses.

                            Last year, Judge Lippman was forced to settle for half of the $25 million recommended by the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York. He is hoping to secure the full amount this year.

                            "In these dismal economic conditions the poor and near poor are hurt the most and the need for civil legal services is greater than ever," Judge Lippman said.

                            He said 130,000 clients were served this year with the $12.5 million initial appropriation.

                            "It is our belief that for every dollar invested in civil legal services five dollars are returned to the state in increased federal benefits, decreased social services and costs associated with homelessness," Judge Lippman said. "We think this is money well-invested and we think the additional funding is very modest."

                            Judge Lippman said he will be pursuing additional funding from private sources.

                            "The state has finite resources and there are limited funds available for this purpose and we think we have to ratchet up what can come from foundations from working outside the confines of the state budget to try to find additional funding," Judge Lippman said. "We recognize we have to go outside."

                            Judge Lippman said the savings in community courts and drug treatment parts would come largely from greater efficiencies rather than fewer services.

                            "We have learned how to be very efficient," Judge Lippman said. "We think we are very adept at what we do and doing it more cheaply than we used to."

                            Judicial organizations have been urging the Office of Court Administration to maintain the $10,000 stipend for judges.

                            The proposed budget does not include funds for stipends, but neither did this year's budget. If stipends are allowed in addition to the pay raises, the money would have to be shifted from another budget line.

                            "There is no specific money for a supplemental fund. There never was," Judge Lippman acknowledged. "We are just going to have to see how the budget year goes."

                            The court officer training academy at a former school in Brooklyn was funded through bonds issued in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

                            This year, the court system proposes spending $8 million of that to further develop a residential training facility now in the design phase. It was first proposed in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, when officials recognized a need to expand training and provide residential facilities, similar to those used by the Department of Corrections and the State Police.

                            The judiciary budget faces an uncertain future at a time when the state's fiscal crisis remains severe and Mr. Cuomo is asking executive agencies to cut 2.5 percent, far more than the judiciary plans to cut. However, this year the judiciary was among the hardest hit by the budget predicament, especially with the loss of 8 percent of its workforce.

                            "I think and believe, and I hope, that it is received by the other branches with a recognition that we are doing the absolutely best we can to meet our true responsibility, which first and foremost is our constitutional mission to deliver fair and impartial justice, balanced by our responsibility to be a good partner in government," Judge Lippman said.

                            Impact of Budget

                            Under the state Constitution, the Judiciary budget must be submitted by Dec. 1 and the governor is obligated to include the Third Branch's request in the executive budget he presents to the Legislature in January. While the governor cannot alter the Judiciary's request until after it is reviewed by the Legislature, he may comment.

                            Morris Peters, spokesman for the Cuomo Administration's budget division, said the budget is under review.

                            "We have received and are reviewing the Judiciary's budget which, per the Constitution, will be included in the Executive Budget without revision," Mr. Peters said. "The Governor may comment at that time."

                            Senator John J. Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he was briefed yesterday by Judge Prudenti and supports the budget request.

                            "It appears the Judiciary is continuing to do more with less," he said. "This year, the Judiciary will have to include judicial raises in their budget and have also proposed to increase civil legal services to $25 million, which I am supportive of. Addressing those increased costs, while reducing overall spending, is very good news and I look forward to the forthcoming budget process in Albany."

                            There was no immediate reaction from the Assembly.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Cravan View Post
                              This is included in the budget:

                              There would be no layoffs, but a workforce that is already down 8 percent (about 1,300 positions) as a result of early retirements and layoffs would continue to decline through attrition as only a handful of essential positions are filled. It is projected that some 200 employees will leave the court system's employ and will not be replaced.

                              There would be no new appropriations for capital projects, although the budget would re-appropriate $8 million in bonded funds to develop a court officer training academy in Brooklyn.

                              I do not understand why OCA would continue to develop a court officer training academy without having a new recruit class. I am very puzzled.

                              Comment


                              • Because it is already paid for with bonds and they will have to hire eventually. Requirements for Peace Officer certification have changed and who knows, maybe Police Officer status is in the future, necessitating the new academy. Just my 2 cents.

                                Originally posted by Cravan View Post
                                I do not understand why OCA would continue to develop a court officer training academy without having a new recruit class. I am very puzzled.

                                Comment

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