With the legislative branch signing on in support of Governor Jon Corzine’s plan to furlough state employees for two days as a budget cutting measure, it’s now up to Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to decide if he’ll take the judicial branch down the same road. So far, Rabner hasn’t said a word about cutting two days pay for judges and court employees.
Update: Judge Glenn Grant, the acting adminisrative director of the courts, says that the judiciary will follow Gov. Jon Corzine’s furlough plan. Read Grant’s memo:
You are aware of the current disastrous budget situation that our state government is facing, and the Governor’s proposed recommendations to close the $3 billion shortfall in the FY ’09 budget. One aspect in Governor Corzine’s public announcement of Tuesday, February 17, 2009 is a mandatory two-day furlough for Executive Branch employees. As I indicated at yesterday’s meeting of the Administrative Council, the Chief Justice has determined that the Judiciary is planning to implement a mandatory furlough if that option is ultimately imposed in the Executive Branch. The Legislature has likewise announced plans to honor the Governor’s request for a furlough for its members and employees. If a furlough is implemented in the Judiciary, the Chief Justice will be designating one day in May and one day in June when all courts will close for business. In that event, emergent court matters would be handled through the existing vicinage procedures as on weekends or holidays.
As further details develop, we will advise you accordingly. We appreciate the dedicated, professional service that members of the Judiciary provide to the public every day. The Chief Justice and I know that the announcement of a furlough program will cause significant anxiety among staff and that, even more importantly, its implementation will result in significant financial pain to each and every furloughed employee. We thus do not take this step lightly. However, without such a program, much more drastic action will almost certainly be necessary, and that is something that we are trying to avoid.