Thursday, March 21, 2002
Mezzanine Room, Holiday Inn
850 South Bluff Street
St. George, Utah
Chief Justice Richard C. Howe
Daniel J. Becker
Rep. Scott Daniels, President, Utah State Bar
John Baldwin, Executive Director, Utah State Bar
All members, staff, and guests were welcomed to the meeting.
2. REMARKS: BAR COMMISSION: (Rep. Scott Daniels, John Baldwin)
Representative Scott Daniels, President of the Utah State Bar, expressed gratitude to the courts for their participation in dealing with issues of civility and professionalism in the legal profession. Representative Daniels reported on the Bar's efforts in putting together a co-location of agencies to deliver services to the disadvantaged . It was also reported that Representative Kathryn Bryson may advance additional legislation to change the composition of the Judicial Conduct Commission.
John Baldwin, Executive Director of the Utah State Bar, expressed appreciation to the Council for joining the Bar at their Mid-Year Conference, and commented on the importance of the Judiciary's presence at the Bar's Conferences. Mr. Baldwin also reported that the Bar is considering reciprocity agreements with other states, which would allow out of state lawyers to practice in Utah, and Utah lawyers to practice out of state.
Judge James Davis, vice chair of the Judicial Council, then made a presentation to Chief Justice Howe on behalf of the Judicial Council. A photograph of the Council and a plate were presented to the Chief Justice in appreciation and recognition of his service as chair of the Judicial Council.
3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: (Chief Justice Richard C. Howe)
The minutes of the Judicial Council's February meeting were discussed. A motion was then made.
Motion: A motion was made to approve the minutes, the motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
4. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT: (Chief Justice Richard C. Howe)
Chief Justice Howe mentioned that any items he had to report would be addressed later in the meeting.
5. ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT: (Daniel J. Becker)
Daniel J. Becker reported the following items:
Management Committee: (Hon. Lyle Anderson)Judge Anderson reported that the Management Committee reviewed a number of items which appear on the Council's consent calendar. These items include: appointments to the Interpreter Advisory Panel, the addition of one interpreter position to the membership of the Interpreter Advisory Panel, the extension of Judge Joseph Anderson's term on the IT Standing Committee by one year, and a few minor revisions to the Guidelines for Education Programs for Judges, Commissioners and Court Employees. Judge Anderson mentioned that a revision to the guidelines for the award of education credit had been handed out to Council members during the meeting. The revision allowed for the award of credit to judges participating in public outreach activities.
Liaison Committee: (Justice Michael Wilkins)Justice Wilkins reported that the Liaison Committee had met a number of times during the Legislative Session, at which time they reviewed a number of bills and made recommendations when appropriate.
Policy and Planning: (Hon. Scott Johansen)Judge Johansen reported that the Policy and Planning Committee reviewed and approved a number of items for submission to the Council, and that they had referred several items to the Council's consent calendar. Judge Johansen also reported that Policy and Planning had looked at the placement of the Guardian ad Litem Office in the Administrative Office of the Courts, and that questions the Committee is considering thus far include: 1)whether housing the Guardian ad Litem Office in the Administrative Office of the Courts presents a legal problem; 2) are there other methods of administering the Guardian ad Litem Office outside of the Judiciary; and, 3) does daily contact between guardians ad litem and judges in courthouses present a problem. The Committee will make a report to the Council once thorough review and discussion have taken place.
Bar Commission: (Debra Moore, esq.)Debra Moore expressed that she had nothing to report, as a result of the report from the Bar president and executive director earlier in the meeting.
7. REPORT: BOARD OF JUSTICE COURT JUDGES: (Hon. John Sandberg, Richard Schwermer)
Judge Sandberg, chair of the Board of Justice Court Judges, provided an update to the Council. Judge Sandberg reported that the Board was grateful for the support of the Council in opposing a bill which would have created administrative law judges, and also thanked the Council for opposing SB 148.
Judge Sandberg then reported on the success of an auditor position which was created to work specifically with justice courts. It was mentioned that the position has been very beneficial in identifying ways to improve current processes in the justice courts, and Judge Sandberg thanked the Council for allowing for the creation of the position.
It was reported that justice courts are focusing on improving community outreach efforts. In addition to other outreach activities that are being conducted, it was mentioned that two substance abuse courts are operating in justice courts in Salt Lake County.
Judge Sandberg shared a few goals with the Council that the Board has identified for the future, which include:
Richard Schwermer reported that the City of Richfield has submitted an application for the formation of a new justice court. Since the city is a former circuit court site, the Judicial Council may be obligated to certify them as a justice court, provided they meet the outlined requirements. It was mentioned that they appear to meet the operational standards, and that the city currently contracts with Sevier County to handle cases so the creation of justice court in Richfield would not affect current caseloads.
Motion: A motion was made to approve the formation of a new justice court in the city of Richfield. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
9. LEGISLATIVE OVERVIEW/ADOPTION OF FY 2003 SPENDING PLAN: (Daniel J. Becker, Richard Schwermer, D. Mark Jones, Fred Jayne)
Mr. Becker recognized the work of Richard Schwermer, Mark Jones, Fred Jayne, and Gordon Bissegger during the Legislative Session, as well as the fine work of the Liaison Committee. Richard Schwermer then distributed a list of bills to the Council. The Council briefly discussed the following bills:
1. reduced the amount of reduction to $3,415,000, or $385,000 less than anticipated;The cumulative implications are: 1) a reduction less severe than what had been planned for; 2) the ability to revisit the number and type of positions which had been slated for elimination as of July 1, 2002; and, 3) the option of restoring funds on a one-time basis for certain needs which had been previously cut.
2. appropriated $523,000 in new money for Leases and Contracts, the entire amount of on-going funds requested;
3. appropriated $584,000, $173,000 of which is ongoing funds, to implement 6 pieces of legislation; (Note: fiscal note funds have to be used for specific purposes, which include the establishment of a number of new positions.)
4. and, reduced the amount of the reduction required in FY 2002 by $700,000, allowing a projected carryforward of $500,000 in one-time funds into FY 2003.
The Council reviewed a worksheet which identified decisions the Council made last Fall based upon a need to reduce 72 positions. It was mentioned that the Council now needed to reduce 55.5 positions rather than 72. It was reported that there are currently 40 general fund positions vacant as a result of a hiring freeze, and it was recommended that the freeze remain in place once 55.5 positions are vacant, but that it be capped at 55.5 FTE's. At that time, vacancies would be filled on a first in first out basis. The freeze would remain in place until the Third District Court has been downsized by 47 clerks.
It was recommended that 34 Deputy Court Clerk positions be eliminated from the Third District Court as previously planned, due to the shift in caseload to the Salt Lake City and West Valley City Justice Courts; that 9 fiscal note/drug court positions that were funded by the 2001 Legislature be eliminated because Human Services will not be able to fund the services accompanying the positions; that 6 positions be eliminated in the Administrative Office of the Courts; and, that 1 Court Reporter position be eliminated due to an anticipated retirement. The elimination of these positions would total 50 FTE's.
Motion: Judge Hadfield made a motion to eliminate 34 Deputy Clerk positions, 9 fiscal note/drug court positions, 6 positions in the Administrative Office of the Courts, 1 Court Reporter position, and 5.5 Deputy Probation Officer positions, as previously planned. Those reductions will total 55.5 positions, which need to be eliminated. It was further moved that 13.5 Deputy Probation Officer positions, one Court Reporter position, one Appellate Court position, and the Guardian ad Litem position which had been previously identified for elimination, be restored. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Discussion then took place concerning $1,450,000 the courts will have in FY 03 in one time funding. The Council reviewed a list of items they had previously approved for funding, but reduced, eliminated, or postponed last Fall with the 4% budget reduction. The total dollar amount of items which had been previously funded exceeded the amount of one time money the courts had available in FY 03 by approximately $300,000. Daniel Becker recommended that $950,000 be allocated for full year funding, and that $500,000 be set aside for second half year funding if the budget allows at that time. $950,000 of this money is the 2% set aside anticipating turnover savings in personnel. It was noted that the Council should be cautious with this money because turnover has not occurred at the same rate as in previous years.
Motion: Judge Valdez made a motion to add $150,000 to the current expense budget for the full year. Judge Anderson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Poulson made a motion to fund $20,000 for a Byrne Grant match for a full year. Judges Lynn Davis and Ben Hadfield seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Lynn Davis made a motion to add $50,000 to the travel budget for a full year. Judge Hadfield seconded the motion. The motion carried with two opposed.
Motion: Judge Lynn Davis made a motion to fund $35,000 for the second language stipend program for a full year. Judge Valdez seconded the motion. The motion was defeated.
Motion: Judge Johansen made a motion to fund $100,000 of alterations, repairs and improvements for a full year, and $50,000 of alterations, repairs and improvements for a half year. Judge Lynn Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Anderson made a motion to fund $20,000 for senior judge benefits for a full year. Judge Lynn Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Anderson made a motion to add $300,000 for career ladder increases. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Anderson made a motion to restore $25,000 to reimburse justice courts for conducting preliminary hearings. Judge Jensen seconded the motion. The motion was withdrawn.
Motion: Judge Hadfield made a motion to restore $225,000 of reserves for a full year, and $250,000 for a half year. Judge Anderson seconded the motion. The motion carried with 6 in favor of the motion, 6 opposed, and Chief Justice Howe breaking the tie by voting in favor of the motion.
Motion: Judge Johansen made a motion to spend the remainder of available full year funding ($85,000) on state supervision. Judge Valdez seconded the motion. The motion carried with one opposed.
Motion: Judge Johansen made a motion to fund a $9,000 adjustment to contract sites for a full year by reducing the full year reserve from $225,000. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Anderson made a motion to defer to the last six months of the year capital equipment and IT/services ($100,000). Judge Lynn Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried with one opposed.
Motion: Judge Johansen made a motion to fund $65,000 in state supervision contract funds for a half year. Judge Valdez seconded the motion. The motion carried with one opposed.
Motion: Judge Anderson made a motion to restore $5,000 to half year funding for justice courts conducting preliminary hearings with the intent that those funds be used for the Sixth District. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: Judge Lynn Davis made a motion to restore
$30,000 for the second language stipend program in the second half of the
year. Judge Valdez seconded the motion.
Substitute Motion: A substitute motion was made to fund the second language stipend program for a full year by increasing the amount of available funds for full year funding to $985,000 by reducing funds from half year funding to $465,000. Judge Lynn Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried with three opposed.
The aforementioned decisions of the Council are listed below:
|34 Deputy Clerk positions
9 fiscal note/drug court positions
(approved but never implemented)
6 AOC positions
2 Court Reporter positions
19 Deputy Probation Officer positions
1 Appellate Court position
1 GAL attorney position
72 Total Positions
One Time Funding Allocation:
Byrne grant match (b)
Capital Equip. (Deferred) (d)
Career Ladder (d)
Commissioner. Bonus (c)
Adj. Contract Sites (a)
(for current expense)
Incentive Awds (Deferred) (d)
IT Contract Position (d)
Justice Crt Prel. Hearings (d)
Restore 3% Reduction (d)
Restore 10% Reduction (d)
Second Language Stipend (a)
Senior Judge Benefits (a)
State Sup. Contract Fund (d)
|Full Year Funding
___ __50,000 ______
___ __35,000 ______
___ __50,000 _ __
___ __50,000 __
Key:1) items which have been presumed funded in the past or are provided by Rule (a); 2) items which required funding to support earlier Council decisions (b); 3) proposals deferred by Council (c); and, 4) items cut from FY 2002 spending or FY 2003 base budget (d).
10. EXECUTIVE SESSION:
Motion: A motion was made to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Debra Moore recused herself from the executive session.
11. OTHER BUSINESS:
Motion: Judge Lyle Anderson made a motion to have a letter prepared by the vice-chair of the Council, Judge James Davis, responding to Judge Joseph Anderson's correspondence to the Council. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
Motion: A motion was made to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.