Ramona court on cut list
San Diego Superior Court is facing $14 million in reduced funding for the fiscal year starting July 1 and the elimination of 250 jobs or more, due to state budget cuts, court officials said today.
Court’s budget calls for cutting about 250 jobs, or closing or restructuring more than 40 courtrooms over the next two fiscal years. The Ramona branch court in the county complex in the 1400 block of Montecito Road is on the cut list. No closure date was given.
“The cuts envisioned by our budget reduction plan will affect every judge, court employee and ultimately the litigants, court users and citizens of San Diego County,’’ Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta stated.
Six downtown criminal courtrooms would close, along with probate court in North County, a juvenile dependency courtroom in North County, a downtown civil department and the Ramona branch court.
Included among those whose jobs would be eliminated are student workers, retired rehires, law clerks, retired commissioners and paid juvenile court pro tem hearing officers.
The court anticipates $26 million or more in funding reductions for FY 2013-14.
By then, the county’s court system will operate on a budget of less than $150 million, compared to $190.5 million in the current fiscal year, Dalton said.
The tentative FY 2013-14 budget calls for 30 courtrooms to be closed, eliminating 60 jobs. It also calls for additional cuts in family and small claims courts, cuts in civil business operations, and the implementation of two unpaid furlough days per month for all court employees.
“The impact of these recommended reductions on the San Diego Superior Court will fundamentally alter the way in which the court does business,’’ Trentacosta said. “No court can reduce its current operating budget by 21 percent, on top of reductions incurred during the preceding four fiscal years, without radically altering the structure, composition and capability of the court.”
—City News Service
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