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Court administrators say reorganization plan could result in savings

Nov 22, 2019 1:15 pm
Dan Clark is reporting for the New York Law Journal a proposal to overhaul the state’s trial court structure put forward by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore is projected to cost the state $13.1 million per year when fully implemented, less than a half of 1 percent of the judiciary’s current budget. The bulk of the increased cost would be the result of the salary increases required by the plan. The analysis was released on November 19, in a report from the Office of Court Administration. The report also projected the court system would save $5 million through a reduction in nonpersonal services. Savings would not come from cutting staff, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said. The plan, as currently written, would not remove, or consolidate, any positions currently within the court system. They’re already down about 1,600 employees compared to a decade ago, Marks said. The report was released on the same day state lawmakers held the second of two hearings on DiFiore's proposal. At that hearing Marks testified the plan would result in a savings in attorney's fees, lost days at work, as well as childcare and transportation costs. “If cases can be resolved more quickly if they can be resolved with fewer court appearances, litigants are going to save money,” he said. Marks said the OCA calculated that litigants would spend 4.5 million fewer hours in court every year if DiFiore's plan is implemented. The state Legislature is expected to take up the proposal during the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January. Read the full story in the New York Law Journal.