Guam Judiciary Faces $1.7 Million Budget Shortfall In 2013

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Judicial Branch may cut hours instead of employees

By Geraldine Castillo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Oct. 26, 2012) – A deferment in building projects and 36-hour work weeks are some of the issues the Judicial Branch of Guam may have to deal with to address a $1.7 million shortfall due to a Fiscal Year 2013 budget reduction by the Legislature.

The Judicial Council met yesterday afternoon in the Supreme Court to discuss proposals in its Deficit Reduction Plan. A 36-hour work week plan of action was proposed, which affects all judicial officers and court employees by reducing work days to Tuesday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If implemented, the reduced work hours would apply to the last two quarters of the fiscal year, beginning May 21, 2013 to September 27, 2013. The reduction in hours would save the Judiciary about $807,500 in payroll expense.

Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido explained that while the plan of action is not final, it was determined that instead of laying off employees, they looked at other options in sacrifices to be made while still being able to function effectively, which ultimately was to reduce employees’ hours.

Some projects under the FY2013 Judicial Building Fund Budget Plan may have to be deferred as well while the Judiciary is still paying off an $11 million Bank of Guam loan.

As a result of the Judiciary’s budget cuts, Superior Court fines and fees are also expected to increase beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

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