Last Updated on November 19th, 2016
November 19th, 2016
Written by Chuck Samples
Now that the judicial retention debate is over for now, the state's judicial branch is pleading with the other two branches of government to boost pay for employees.
The judicial branch released two studies Friday showing pay for every single job classification is below market levels. The disparity ranges from 4.6 to 22 percent.
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss says it has been eight years since employees received a pay raise, and the results are startling: more than a quarter of judicial branch employee positions have starting salaries below the federal poverty level for a family of four and nearly a third work more than one job. For judges, it would take a 22-percent raise to raise salaries to market. Over a quarter of magistrates say they ar seeking employment outside the judicial branch and compensation is the top reason why.
Nuss has proposed a two-year, $40 million funding increase for the court system starting with fiscal year 2018 in July. He says that would help bring salaries up to either market levels or an average of neighboring states. However, Nuss' request comes at a bad time for the state. Earlier this month, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group said Kansas could face a $350 million shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year and another $580 million shortage for the fiscal year starting in July if no corrective action is taken by lawmakers.