In The News › New Orleans could have as many as 25 surplus judges, BGR report finds

Sep 3, 2013

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Courts, Government Finance, Orleans Parish

New Orleans could have as many as 25 surplus judges, BGR report finds

By Naomi Martin

The Times-Picayune

September 03, 2013

New Orleans’ taxpayers could save more than $14 million a year by eliminating unnecessary judges in Orleans Parish, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Governmental Research.

The 33-page report found that Orleans Parish has as many as 25 more judges than it needs, based on analysis of each judge’s workload and the number of cases filed in each of the parish’s seven courts. Each judge costs the public about $570,000 a year for staffing costs alone, the report says.

Most of the Orleans judges are up for re-election in November 2014. The report urges the state Legislature to tackle the issue in the 2014 legislative session next spring, so that unnecessary positions can be eliminated and savings can begin then. Otherwise, the report said the next opportunity for “meaningful reform” won’t come until those terms are finished in six years, as state law prohibits cutting a sitting judge’s term short.

“We can’t afford that,” said Janet Howard, president and CEO of the Bureau of Governmental Research. “It’s no secret to everyone that Orleans Parish has numerous unmet needs both in areas of services and areas of infrastructure. To the extent that you’re spending money on unnecessary services, you’re depriving citizens of the services they really need.”

Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said the BGR report reinforces similar findings by his office in 2011.

“We are wasting millions on unnecessary judges and their large staffs when we need those millions for consent decrees and other real needs,” Quatrevaux said in a statement.

Sep 3, 2013

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Courts, Government Finance, Orleans Parish

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