State Revenue and Appropriations
Funding Principles for Judicial Administration
Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times
Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses: In this fiscal year, the number of judges and staff persons has increased (two new judges and 16 associated full-time staff were funded). Besides these resources, minimal additional funding for new staffing resources was provided last year in the form of funding for casual/seasonal (temporary) resources. Funding for court operating expenses has declined by 10%.
Service Reductions: Over the past four years, the Delaware courts have delayed filling vacancies in judicial support positions.
Compensation: Until last year, the salaries of judicial officers were frozen and the salaries of court staff were reduced (during one year) and frozen. A salary reduction for judicial officers (for one year) was voluntary, with 100% participation.
Impact of Service and Compensation Reductions: These service and compensation reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to court services, and produced delays and backlogs in the disposition of cases.
Efficiency Measures: The Delaware courts have implemented e-filing, an enhanced case management system, and e-payment of fees and fines. They have implemented a virtual self-help center and a virtual web-based information center to provide public access to certain court records. They have enabled law enforcement to file e-citations. Since FY 2009, more case information is available on-line. Other efficiencies include streamlining operations and instituting centralized functions to promote efficiency and improve public contact responses; e.g., a family court statewide call center.
Restructuring: The Delaware Judiciary has and will continue to consolidate courthouses, expand the use of subordinate judicial officers, reallocate staff, and use part-time and off-hours workers.
Business Processes: The courts have implemented and continue to implement an enhanced caseflow management program. Videoconferencing for non-evidentiary hearings has been in place since the 1990s.
Centralization: The Delaware courts have established a limited centralized call center (for family court cases) and have centralized collections processing and traffic citation processing.
The Delaware Judiciary is in a better position than a year ago to provide access and timely justice, but not better off than when the fiscal challenges arose in FY 2009.
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