Commonwealth Axes Judicial Jobs

The Kentucky judicial branch is bleeding to death, according to The Lexington-Herald Leader:

Kentucky courts will ax 113 positions during the coming months to help make up an expected $6.8 million shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The job reduction is the largest layoff in the court’s history and follows a smaller round of cutbacks last year. More belt tightening is likely next year, when a $10.6 million shortfall is expected.

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. called the numbers “staggering” and “sobering.”

“If we are to balance our budget, we must make widespread reductions to court operations,” Minton said in a news release. “These reductions will affect all four levels of the court system.”

A wide range of services and positions will be axed, including (but not limited to) the abolition of juvenile/family drug courts, cutting overtime for deputy clerks and the elimination of 18 staff positions from family court programs.

The best part? Frankfort saw this coming and hasn’t done anything to prevent it.

Court officials had warned legislators as early as last summer that layoffs in the judicial branch were inevitable without additional money. But lawmakers — who have yet to pass an executive branch budget — opted to cut the court system by about 2 percent from the previous year. Its overall budget for fiscal year 2011 was $290 million, far less than the $315 million the courts had requested.

The shortfall for the two pools of money that the judicial branch uses for its operations is more than $33 million for the upcoming fiscal year. However, the courts were able to use $26 million in one-time money to erase much of that shortfall.

The judicial branch is the only branch of Kentucky government that has been forced to use layoffs to balance its budget. In 2009, the courts eliminated 47 positions, mainly at its central offices in Frankfort. However, about 26 people were rehired into other positions in the judicial branch.

So if you decide to climb atop the Porta-Johns at the infield for a little impromptu derby of your own, just remember that when you go to court for endangering innocent bystanders/public indecency, there’ll be fewer personnel around to make your stay in Jefferson County jail that much more pleasant.


  1. Ann O. Nymous
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The Jefferson County District Courts work amazingly well, when compared with say fifteen, twenty years ago. Family Courts though are a disaster. They are an experiment whose time has run, and they should be abolished, with their work given back to the Circuit Judges who did that before Fitz had his Family Court idea.

  2. patricia jones
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    perhaps if the circuit clerk in jefferson county discontinued his practice of adding chief deputies at huge salaries they might be able to run with a less costly budget. For many many years the clerks office ran with one chief deputy however the clerk at the time was a working clerk not a active politician seeking reelection or other political a,ambitions. Each family judge has a staff attorney and a social worker called a court support worker these are two jobs thay never existed and judges had to write their own opinions and work out their own visitations. The judges family, district, do not work a full 40 hour week start your cuts at the top make them earn their 100,00 plus salaries.