Mark Taylor
The Kansas Supreme Court has postponed two of four remaining furlough days implemented last month.
The furloughs were implemented for all Kansas district and appellate courts in the face of state budget shortfalls.
The original furlough days were April 13, April 27, May 11, May 25 and June 8.
The postponement moves the April 27 furlough to May 24, and the May 11 furlough to June 7.
The May 25 and June 8 furlough days remain unchanged.
Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss said the postponed dates are in response to recent assurances from Pre. Marc Rhodes, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the Budget Conference Committee, to provide additional funding to keep the courts open.
“In reliance upon last Friday’s (April 20) House Appropriations Committee assurances to fund the courts, we are agreeing to postpone two days of court closures,” Nuss said. “Waiting until May 24 should give the legislature more than enough time to make good on the House committee’s stated intentions.”
Nuss announced the furloughs earlier this month.
“We do not have enough money to make our payroll through the end of the fiscal year,” he said on April 4. “And as of today, we have no assurance we will have that appropriation to operate through the end of this fiscal year.”
The Supreme Court informed legislators of a more than $1 million shortfall last January.
A supplemental appropriation was recently defeated as a result of an impasse regarding other matters included in the same bill.
The judicial branch has about 1,500 employees. Nuff said a one-day furlough per pay period reduces payroll by about 10 percent.
Neff said the furlough postponement will result in rescheduling for staff, witnesses, attorneys, litigants and jurors.
“Changing the direction of the court system is not like turning a bass boat,” Neff said. “It is more like trying to turn an aircraft carrier underway at sea.”
Neff added, “The Supreme Court is not interested in pointing fingers. We are interested in trying to help fix this mess. Today’s decision is our effort to help fix it.”