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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lippman's Workers Brace for Pink Slips, Demotions

New York's court workers brace for hundreds of pink slips, demotions
The Journal News by Rebecca Baker  -  May 5, 2011

Hundreds of court employees across the state will get pink slips and demotion notices in less than two weeks, as court officials seek to cut $170 million in the wake of state funding cuts.  The 400 to 500 planned layoffs, plus an unknown number of downgrades, will be part of the largest decrease in court services in nearly 20 years. Courthouses have already been ordered to close a half-hour early, at 4:30 p.m., and more than a dozen court-funded programs have been reduced or suspended to cover the 6.3 percent funding loss. The layoffs, to be announced May 18, have lawyers concerned that fewer court officers, clerks and other staff will slow the wheels of justice even more. "These cuts are going to affect us in ways that we never thought of," said Mayo Bartlett, a criminal defense lawyer in White Plains. "It's going to make everything less efficient."  The first round of pink slips, issued two weeks ago, took effect Wednesday. The state Office of Court Administration, which oversees all court operations, laid off 74 central staff members, saving about $6 million in salaries and benefits. The layoffs will mean fewer people to audit local courts and update databases, among other services. Which other jobs are on the chopping block remain a mystery. OCA will not discuss proposed staff reductions, and an OCA spokesman told The Journal News that the agency would delay releasing the planned layoffs.

The OCA has denied part of a Freedom of Information Law request from the newspaper seeking the layoff plan for the 9th Judicial District, which covers Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties. An agency lawyer said the report was exempt from disclosure because it contained "deliberative, pre-decisional information and subjective opinions and recommendations."  The newspaper plans to appeal.  OCA did release payroll records for the 1,116 court employees in the 9th District, as well as a letter sent April 4 to district administrative judges with guidelines for reducing staff. The newspaper had requested both.  Judge Lawrence Marks, OCA's administrative director, sent each executive a list of staff titles and an amount of money that needed to be cut. He told them to cut the positions, without identifying the employees, and the human resources department would follow civil service rules to determine who to reassign, demote or lay off.  In his memo, Marks directed the judges not to eliminate entire categories of staff, but to cut each category "as evenly as possible." Legal and secretarial employees who were hired by or assigned directly to judges were safe from layoffs.  As a final note, he told the district administrative judges not to discuss their layoff recommendations.  "It is critically important that your workforce reduction plans remain confidential during this period as there will be speculation and anxiety among employees that can negatively impact morale," he wrote.  In a telephone interview, Marks said more than 90 percent of the court's budget is personnel and that that's where a majority of the cuts needed to be. He said the layoffs and demotions would save tens of thousands of dollars and be the bulk of the $170 million reduction. "Until we know exactly who will be laid off, we won't know what the savings are," he said. "It's a very complicated process." A spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents the broadest cross-section of the more than 15,000 court employees, including law and part clerks, reporters, analysts, interpreters and office assistants, said it's difficult to predict the fallout without knowing where the cuts will fall. "If you're dealing with front-line employees that literally are making the system work day in and day out under more difficult circumstances than the public realized, you're going to have a challenge," Steve Madarasz said. "State cuts affect real services provided by real people in real communities." Lynne S. Hilowitz, a New City lawyer who is president of the Rockland County Bar Association, said cutting court staff will have a big effect on people's access to justice. Longer lines to get into court and to process paperwork in city, county and state courts are among the predicted impacts of fewer court officers and clerks. Village and town courts, whose employees work for the municipality, are not directly affected. To compensate for the cuts, Hilowitz said, the Rockland bar is promoting its referral service, by which people can pay $50 for a half-hour meeting with an attorney to get advice on a potential case. She also said that, as of June 1, lawyers in Rockland will be able to file court documents online, except in matrimonial and surrogate courts. The bar association is also encouraging lawyers to act as moderators to reduce judges' caseloads. "All aspects of government are being cut; the courts are no exception," she said. "People are going to have to adjust." But Bartlett, who represents defendants in the Westchester County Courthouse daily, said the cuts could require defendants and crime victims to make more court appearances, causing them to lose pay or possibly their jobs. "The state is going to end up bearing the costs in a different way," he said. "At the end of the day, it'll be a small cost savings that will cost everyone else."

Additional Facts
Cutting court programs  -  In addition to the hundreds of expected layoffs, New York court officials have slashed or suspended funding for several court-related programs:

• Reducing funding for courthouse child-care centers. Savings: $1 million
• Reducing grants to town and village courts for technology upgrades and improved services. Savings: $2.5 million
• Eliminating 275 of 300 judicial hearing officers, with the remaining 25 working only in family and municipal courts. Savings: $5 million to $6 million
• Cutting small claims court in New York City from four nights to one night a week. Savings: $2 million
• Reassigning staff at the Judicial Institute at Pace Law School in White Plains and directing judges to take training programs online. Savings: To be determined.
• Suspending parent education programs for parents going through divorce. Savings: $750,000.
• Suspending the Lawyers Assistance Trust, which helps attorneys with alcohol and substance-abuse problems. Savings: $500,000      

Source: state Office of Court Administration

37 comments:

victim said...

Is Lippman's hotel going to give fired employees a discount?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the court employees that are being laid off can ask Scheinkman, the Administrative Judge for the 9th Judicial District, how Howard Leitner, a 70 year old attorney who worked for the law firm of Berman Bavero Frucco & Gouz until he apparently got recently hired by Scheinkman as a court referee got his job.

Howard Leitner has been assigned hundreds of cases by Scheinkman. At 70 years old, judges are required to be retired, and most people would want to be. How is it that Leitner got this position?

There are just too many things about Lietner being hired by Scheinkman that stink.

The 9th JD employees know what goes on there and have just sat back and let it happen. They have watched for years as these same insiders have destroyed the lives of innocent people who have had to to the courts.

Now, these same insiders continue to protect themselves and their connected friends.

You have been used and you are expendable.

Just like all the victims of the corrupt courts, you will know how callously and carelessly they can destroy your lives and your families.

As insiders, you have access to information that can hold them accountable for their corrupt and criminal acts.

You can be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Let's first discuss the judges and their work schedules for the day and the weeks.
Many judges work a few hrs a day..I lived it...and many more take "days" off during the week..I lived it....rarely Fridays or Friday afternoons..ever.

The support staff from the courtroom then shares office duties with the office staff that usually has that room covered, because they cannot count on the clerks etc. on any given day...so the clerk's work is exclusively simple first day starting chores...filing papers that should be dumped...busy work, while getting paid $65,000 plus, as opposed to the office help covering all the real functions, making around $40,000.

The judges must work 5 days a week as well as everyday that is not covered by their 4 weeks vacation, sick time, holidays and 2 weeks for decision making..which they do from the bench 99% of the time....and you have saved thousands of dollars.

The secretaries jobs are immune..oh boy....a true travesty.
This job is a true hack job...only given to those well connected to the judge or intimate with same...lived it. These women, after a few years of pillow talk in chambers and some courtrooms..a sticky subject, are then given top level supervisor's job, knocking out anyone with ability to run OCA from behind..meaning behind the scenes.

Yes that is who is running the non-judicial offices and they have NO KNOWLEDGE of courthouse functions and are being paid 6 plus figures.

Screwing the judge in his chambers is worth a cushy job, never being forced to function and a retirement salary beyond anyone with a doctorate degree. The judges wives act so oblivious to this occurrence.

Eliminating many supervisors jobs...whom very few worker's ever need or consult.. and eliminating the secretaries, who are jumping from doing their checkbooks online, calling all their friends and family, buying and building their summer cottages while spending all day on the horn and planning weddings and showers on court computers, to 6 figure chief and deputy chief jobs.......might save the state thousands, upon thousands.

You don';t just need the FOIL act for information...you need the employees being canned to tell you all about OCA and their shady operations and then use force to get OCA to open up their jungle of monkeys, and you will get who and what to target.

OCA is intending on hiding this information..because as I know thme better than my family.....they are firing the non-connected politically, who do the most work, are the smartest and most independent....I have them on record playing this game, right from a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

It's Official. Columbia County Judge Paul Czajka who has Systematically Escaped review by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct where Complaints have been whitewashed for years, has officially resigned as Judge to go run for his old District Attorney Job.

Some speculate that this move may have been to put himself out of reach of the CJC where Complaints have been whitewashed since 2000 or earlier.

NY Post writer Brad Hamilton did a full expose on the Judge in Dec. 2004 calling him "Judge Dread" after interviewing multiple complainants who had proof that their complaints were Received by the CJC but never heard back or had any investigation done.

Judge Czajka was very close to the Pataki Administration having been elected in the same year Pataki defeated Mario Cuomo and at least one former staffer of the DA's office went to work in Gov Pataki's counsels office.

With upstate Columbia County being so close to Albany and located in the scenic Hudson Valley region, the County became a popular attraction for NYC residents to get Second Homes and for Political appointees in the Pataki Administration to move closer to Albany.

CJC head Robert Tembeckjian who's agency whitewashed numerous complaitns owns property there and Pataki's first DEC Commissioner Michael Zagata purchased a home there too.

Anonymous said...

For the full text of the Times Union story discussing the sudden move by the Judge to go back to his DA job after being passed over many times for State Supreme Court, read the Times Union article below which many believe only tells a small part of the story:

Judge resigns to run for DA
By CAROL DEMARE Staff writer
Published 11:45 a.m., Thursday, May 5, 2011

Page 1 of 1
HUDSON -- After 16 years on the bench, Columbia County Judge Paul Czajka announced Thursday he has resigned so he can run for district attorney in November, a position he previously held.

Czajka, 57, of Livingston, who submitted his resignation effective Wednesday, said, it was "a decision I did not take lightly."

A Republican, Czajka served as Columbia County DA for seven years before his election as county judge in 1994. He was first elected DA in 1987.

"I fervently believe, however, that I can better serve the unfortunate victims of crimes, our citizens, and the taxpayers of Columbia County as our district attorney," he said.

District Attorney Beth Cozzolino, also a Republican, has been in the post since 1995. Before that she was Czajka's chief assistant during his seven years in office. Cozzolino has yet to return a call as to whether she intends to seek re-election for a fourth four-year term. She was easily re-elected in her last three races.

Czajka is excited about the race that could return him to the DA's office.

"If I've learned nothing else during my career in law enforcement and the judicial systems of Columbia County, it is that the single most important position in the country for implementation of justice is that of district attorney," he said.

"Simply put," Czajka said, "If I am elected, I will personally investigate crime and assist police officers in their investigations, personally go to court, and personally prosecute crimes."

He said he will seek the endorsement for the Nov. 8 election of the Columbia County Republican Committee, Independence Party Committeee and Conservative Party Committee. Should Cozzolino run for another term, it could mean a primary race in September.

Czajka has four years remaining on his second 10-year judicial term, but believes he can achieve greater efficiency in the DA's office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo could appoint someone to the judgeship. That person would have to run in November, or the governor could decide to leave it vacant until the election.

Reach Carol DeMare at 454-5431 or cdemare@timesunion.com.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Judge-resigns-to-run-for-DA-1367057.php#ixzz1LUhyfklF

Anonymous said...

To intensify the layoff theme, there is a need for the public to view the computers that the secretaries and supervisors use daily..and then the public will see the MOTHER LODE of what goes on all day long with high grade titles that are being saved from the hatchet...if the media needs guidance.
You better do it and request that any cleaning of said hard drives be halted and evidence of same be checked forensically..as OCA has their automation Dept all up in tech corruption...I know for a fact.
I also have that lode on my home computer and printed... passed along by private citizens for years now...and very interesting how obscene some are coming right from OCA'S claimed tightly secured state computers, from OCA names everywhere...wanta see?

And a sideline to regular civil service employees who will take the brunt of the firings...watch and see how many men are canned...as the male clerks rarely have to do back office work or fully complete their regular duties, and often stay in empty courtrooms on the internet..with sports, some soft sex sites etc....check their computers also...double mother lode.

Lippman resisted cuts to save money because he wants the public to think it would damage them...a fat lie...and I am sure that even these layoffs will never even be noticed, because mistakes, ineptness and total non-supervision already exists..and nothing has been said or maybe realized.

Anonymous said...

re: Czajka

Leaving the position of Judge does not divest the CJC of the ability to take action against anyone who was involved in misconduct while sitting as a Judge.

They may like you to believe they no longer have any authority, but like everything else with the judiciary, they make stuff up and just expect everyone to believe that they are telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

To Commenter at 5:26 pm -

That is good to know and had not researched it but got that info from someone who worked at the State but this person may be confused with those provisions like if you leave the Legislature, the Legislative Ethics Commission may not have jurisdiction anymore or if you leave a state office position the CPI may not?

Not sure but it is good to know that the CJC still has authority. Not that anyone expects the CJC to ever do anything.

In fact, to the best of my knowledge the below videos are part of what was submitted to the CJC by others. If not submitted to the CJC, submitted to the FBI in the NDNY for sure by the person who made the videos attached herein.

First is story of a former police chief falsely arrested who had Transcripts before Judge Czajka tampered and had a specific forgery of a pistol permit allegedly by the Judge's then Secretary, Pam Kennedy but nothing happened when this was reported.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyo3HnzbCxg

The second video is former Berkshire Farm Center employee fired after refusing to falsify info on required Physicals and TB tests in order for the Facility to beat an audit by the State. This former employee also talks about a co worker who was asked on more than one occasion to falsify Medicaid submissions to increase revenue. This info according to the filmmaker was also given to the FBI in the NDNY.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skhGSvNl7CM

hvr

Anonymous said...

How many Judges are getting pink slips? After all it's only fair that they share the pain along with everyone else. Let's see who goes first - how about Lippman, that would be a great way to start off.

Anonymous said...

realistically what can the CJC do about a judge that has left the bench since all they have authority to do while on the bench is censure, admonish, warnings, or removal?

jail4judges said...

This is great! This is the opportunity of a life time! FIRE THE JUDGES! CLEAN HOUSE, OUT WITH ALL THE GARBAGE!

jail4judges said...

This is great! This is the opportunity of a life time! FIRE THE JUDGES! CLEAN HOUSE, OUT WITH ALL THE GARBAGE!

Anonymous said...

If you want to see exactly what kind of people Cuomo is appointing to his court screening panel click on whitecollarcrimeny.com for some real insight. These guys at Dreyer Boyajian have made a living off defending corrupt politicians and we're suppose to belive Dreyer will oversee the courts. HA! Give me a break.

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Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2