FY 2014 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
Following targeted capital investments in the court system, the Patrick-Murray Administration, working with the Trial Court and Supreme Judicial Court, recommend the creation of a Courts Re-Alignment Commission to identify achieve efficiencies in the court system.
The Judiciary operates out of 100 active court facilities, with over 5.5 million square feet of space in 60 communities across the state. Since 2007, the Administration has invested over $500 M to complete and open five multi-disciplinary court facilities with 64 new courtrooms. In addition, the Administration is continuing work on new court complexes in Greenfield and Lowell. These multi-departmental justice centers provide one-stop service for the public and the legal community and offer opportunities for improved efficiencies and coordinated operations for the Trial Court. In order to achieve intended operational efficiencies from these multi-jurisdictional court facilities, the courts need the flexibility to close smaller inefficient facilities.
The Judicial Branch, like the rest of state government, has weathered significant budgetary and personnel challenges during the recession. The Judiciary has been reduced by hundreds of employees from pre-recession levels and is struggling to manage these reductions, primarily through attrition and reduced hours in clerk’s offices and courtrooms throughout the Commonwealth. In an effort to help restore fiscal balance to the Judicial Branch, the FY 2014 budget offers the Judiciary reforms to improve flexibility to fully maximize court utilization.
In its FY 2014 budget, the Patrick-Murray Administration creates a commission to study court re-alignment, similar in scope to the Federal Base Re-Alignment and Closure Commission. A main task of this commission is to produce an independent, non-partisan assessment on the closure or re-alignment of courts to better match them up with the needs of the judiciary and the public and to better utilize budgetary resources. The commission will present its findings to the Administrator of the Trial Court, who will then act on the commission’s findings.
The efforts of the commission will coincide with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s larger goal of maximizing efficiency with court investments through better-aligned court facilities.
Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
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