| Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Kali Holloway, Deputy Director
Date: February 4, 2008
Hon. Ann Pfau
Conference of Chief Judges Supports Pay Raise for New York State Judges
NEW YORK – The nationwide Conference of Chief Justices at its mid-year meeting approved a resolution supporting pay raises for New York State judges and Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye’s efforts to resolve New York’s judicial salary crisis.
The announcement, part of a Conference resolution calling for adequate compensation for judges throughout the country, was issued in support of efforts nationwide to increase judicial compensation. In citing New York’s judicial pay freeze, the resolution calls particular attention to the gravity of the state’s ongoing judicial pay crisis – now in its tenth year, longer than that of any other court system in the country – and the desperate and immediate need for judicial salary reform.“This message of support is particularly significant, coming as it does from our nation’s top judges,” said Chief Judge Kaye. “Judicial leaders from across the country recognize that our courts are seriously imperiled by the long-standing failure to provide fair compensation for our judges. We share the concern of the nation’s Chief Justices that continued inadequate pay will discourage the best legal talent from seeking the bench, and dissuade the most seasoned, experienced judges from remaining there. To maintain the highest quality of justice in New York’s courts, our judges must receive the raises they have long deserved. I extend thanks to the Conference of Chief Justices and all of its members for their support during this tremendously difficult time.”
New York’s judicial pay ranks 49th in the nation when adjusted for the state’s cost of living. Since the last judicial pay increase in 1999, New York’s cost of living has increased by 30%. In that time, trial judges in 49 states have received pay increases averaging 3.2% a year, for a cumulative increase of more than 27%. Additionally, employees in both the Judiciary and the Executive branches of state government have received salary increases aggregating 24%. A New York State judge serving since 1995 has received only one pay increase in nearly 13 years. A judge serving since 1988 has received just two pay increases in almost two decades.
The Conference of Chief Justices resolution can be found on the New York State Unified Court System website at www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew. Conference of Chief Justices membership includes the highest judicial officer of each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands.