Judges need raises, Ohio's chief justice says

O’Connor: "Choosing a career in public service shouldn’t mean being saddled with a stagnant salary for the entire time you serve on the bench."
MCT Regional News
Aug 29, 2014

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor acknowledged “the elephant in the room” - judicial pay - when she spoke to hundreds of the state’s judges on Thursday.

Ohio’s judges have not had a pay raise since 2007, dropping the $121,350 annual salary of trial-court judges to $20,300 below the national average and making the state 42nd among the 50 states.

O’Connor used her State of the Judiciary address to the Ohio Judicial Conference to make a case for higher salaries for judges. She told them that she’s lobbying lawmakers to act on the “ extremely troubling” lack of raises.

“Without an effort to make judicial salaries more competitive, sitting judges will look to jump to private practice and potential judges won’t give the bench the time of day or consideration," she said at the Hilton Easton.

“Choosing a career in public service shouldn’t mean being saddled with a stagnant salary for the entire time you serve on the bench,” she said.

The chief justice said she has discussed “modest annual cost-of living increases” with legislative leaders.

One idea that has been discussed, O’Connor said, is the appointment of a commission to recommend pay raises for judges and others to the General Assembly.

Legislators, county elected officials and township trustees also long have gone without a bump in pay – 2008 in their case. Lawmakers have gone 14 years since they last authorized raises for themselves, judges and others.

Given the coming exodus of judges – nearly 100 of the state’s 720 judges are in their last terms due to the mandatory retirement age of 70 – judicial salaries must rise to attract qualified candidates, O’Connor said.

She urged the judges to sell the importance of the courts, and their specialized programs and dockets that treat drug abusers and address mental health and other issues, to the public.

The chief justice also brought up money in the context of court funding, which now is being studied by a Supreme Court task force. It estimates that Ohio spends $1.1 billion a year to operate its courts, with $147.2 million coming from the state.

“That represents less than one-half of one percent of the state budget,” she said. The remainder of the funding comes from court costs and local governments.

“It’s not a stretch to say that quite possibly Ohio courts are underfunded,” she said. "That is very, very true and accurate statement."

———

By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

KURTje

Welcome to our world. Remember, you work for US.

nikki6279

Not only that... but they seem to do nothing but release the offenders to repeat offend!

JACKEL

As far as I'm concerned ,whatever they are paid is too much. They are all corrupt.

itsoknow67

And with all the judges buying into these halfway house and stuff , they already make bank.

Really are you ...

"The elephant in the room." hourly wage, haaa, haa, ha! For the last 5 years, I have been making under $30,000. a year. Way underemployed. After a series of unfortunate events during the last 6 year stretch, 2 of those years less than $25,000 a year.

So a little less than what I made in the last 5 years, a judge makes in 1 year. What is the biggest joke is unemployment. When someone is laid off, the company that person works for gives the unemployment office 28 weeks worth of pay for each person. If that person finds a job before that money is used up, that money goes to "unemployment heaven." Now if a person received what was leftover, or a good portion of what was leftover in unemployment benefits from that companies unemployment compensation. A heck of a lot more people would find jobs faster. $8.50 an hour plus a bonus for aggressively seeking and finding employment.

Once I am unemployed again, I will search for a job to practice medicine or practice law. It will be a job search. Key word practice. I would gladly accept $120,000. a year. CBCF for you. If you come back, intense probation. Follow guidelines set from higher up the judicial chain. I forgot. Ladies see mikeylikesit for the opportunity to be on the girls of CBCF calendar.

People on here may think I am off the wall for challenging what is accepted as normal. Normal is and what has been the downward spiral here in Norwalk, Huron County, The Great State of Ohio, and across The United States. We all need to make more money. We all need hope and change. Change from the biggest factors affecting our quality of life to the smallest factors affecting our quality of life.

swiss family

@ "Really are you"...the first time I read through your blog I thought you were insightful, the second time I read through it I thought you might need your "meds" adjusted"??? you don't just say I am going to "Practice Law, or Medicine" and do it.. it does take years and years of schooling to do so. I know that sounds hard to believe since we have seen a display of such poor Judgement from most of our local Judges .. from, giving a 2 weeks notice from a judge??? really??? to double dipping??? I guess you don't need a raise if you double dip??? to another Judge who honestly must have some version of the magic "Eight Ball's Under his Desk, and determines someone's punishment, when his choices seem to be.." CBFC,".or.Intense Supervision" whatever that means."Prison" or Freedom"and somehow it seems to always end up with "CBFC"?????

Really are you ...

Being an independent thinker, and thinking outside the box. Doctors are not addressing and fixing the main source of people ailments. Like how prescription drugs are used to solve everything now. There is a lack of family wage jobs/ careers around here. People are selling pain medications for a supplemental income. These people selling, and or stealing to sell, are getting caught and going by the books without any prior felony convictions are getting a very light slap on the wrist, back, back of the head, or what not. I know it takes years of study to become a doctor or lawyer. But for an easy paycheck, IMO, prosecutors are plea bargaining and judges accept this. State representatives need to get off of their personal agendas and bring jobs back to Ohio.

So if doctors laid off of the prescriptions, and healed what was wrong. If judges laid down the law for second time offenders, regardless of felony convictions. If State representatives promoted job growth and innovation for new business. Jobs/ careers that are full time family wage jobs. As the majority of the people here would love to see a manufacturing boom in Huron County. Not a judge who is already making almost five times as the rest of us get a raise in salary. Will there be change with a raise? Will there be a detox boot camp? Will there be any hope? Local factories filled with employment? Probably not. Same old same old. Got a headache, get prescription from doctor, supplemental income, get caught go to CBCF, get out and repeat. But the judge gets a raise with no change.

We need to have the system changed. Is this raise coming with change?

Really are you ...

But to qualify for unemployment you need to actively seek two jobs per week. It does not say you have to be qualified for jobs sought. I am tired of the "start over," at the bottom needing to work my way to better pay. As for the med adjustment. I do not take meds, nor do I want to experiment with them. I can see clearly that us common folk are having it taken to us. Cost of living increase! Ha! Chosen profession! Over $100,000. a year salary! Ha! Should have applied for superintendent!

swiss family

OK @ "Really are you" I apologize.. I was "baiting" you, because I could not figure out what on earth you were saying. I was not sure if you were deliberately misguiding me and everyone here by throwing out a bunch of "non sense"" and we were supposed to try to make sense of it all, or if you, were C. Cannoning us, where you actually did have a point in there somewhere, but unlike, Cliff, you left out all of the endless, and mindless quotes from people from Miss Barbara, to Mr Jingaling to President Washington and everyone in between.. and at the end, ask us.."Did we"?? "Are you" "shall I "..."haven't we"????and all of the other irritating BS that he throws at us...But it looks like you actually have some substance, and you actually make some sense. and I thank you for that..(OH, by the way. I am sure if you asked Mr Cannon he would have the same insults to say about my writing styles as well... I just happened to comment here first)
br>I have to say that for the most part I do agree with you "Really"there if far too much medication being dolled out, andyou are right , people on unemployment do have to check with 2 sources looking for work each week, and how often do you hear the unemployed say that they are looking for people and places that are NOT hiring because they want to apply there because they are NOT really looking for a job?? I actually hear that pretty often. and those people should be cut off, I also do think it is odd, that it is so hard to find a job in Norwalk, but once you hit Sandusky, everyone is Hiring??? why don't people go there for a job??I agree whole heartedly , we need to change things, and fast.. the wrong people are being rewarded and the wrong people are suffering..WE get too caught up in politics and not enough in People and who is getting hurt..I like what you have to say... Keep saying it.. maybe people will listen!!

Really are you ...

Thanks. Sometimes I feel like I am living life window shopping. I see problems, want to fix them, but no matter how much I rant and rave, nobody listens. I hate writing mini essays to get a point across.