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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Informal Poll Shows Frustration Over New York Judicial Pay

Informal Poll Shows Frustration Over Pay Continues for Judiciary
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - January 13, 2011

ALBANY, NY -The formation of a commission to recommend judicial salaries, an initiative lauded by state court administrators, has not quelled the frustration of state judges who continue to demand an immediate raise and retroactive salary hikes, according to an informal online survey organized by four judges. Ninety-six percent of the judges who responded to the survey—527 of 557—answered "no" when asked, "Are you satisfied with the outcome of the salary dispute?" Ninety-one percent said the judiciary should continue to advocate for an immediate raise, and 94 percent said judges should keep pushing for a retroactive increase to make up some of the ground lost since the judiciary last got a raise in 1999.

Read the survey results for all N.Y. judges, judges in New York City and judges in the rest of the state.

The salary commission's first recommendations would not be implemented until April 1, 2012.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman predicted last month that the new commission would recommend a significant raise, a finding that could be overturned only by a legislative vote. After years of fruitless lobbying by the judiciary, he called its enactment "a long overdue salute" to the judges(NYLJ, Dec. 13, 2010).

But many judges apparently have not been appeased.

Of the survey's respondents, 79 percent said "no" when asked if the judicial pay commission was "the best outcome that realistically could have been achieved."

And 91 percent said that they would back a new umbrella organization, in addition to 10 existing judges associations, "to advocate on behalf of its membership with respect to issues such as salaries and other terms and conditions of employment." Family Court Judge W. Dennis Duggan in Albany County, one of the developers of the survey, compared the projected organization to a trade union in an interview with The New York Times, but the survey itself indicated that there were limits to judicial activism among the respondents. More than half, or 53 percent, said they would not be willing to take part in a public demonstration "such as a rally or march" in support of higher pay.

Judge Lippman was not available to comment on the survey, but Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau said the independent pay commission was a good outcome that will make judges less dependent on the governor and the Legislature for future raises. The Court of Appeals ruled last year that the other branches had unconstitutionally tied raises to unrelated issues. "But for some individual judges it doesn't resolve all their problems and we recognize that," she acknowledged. "Look, if somebody said to me, 'Is this a perfect outcome?' My response would be that it is not. For the institution, a commission is a very, very positive thing. But if I were an individual judge and I was going to retire next year, I would be pretty frustrated." Judge Pfau added that the establishment of a new judges' group would have no effect on the way court administrators deal with the judges. "I am happy to deal with 20 associations or one association," she said. However, Judge Pfau added that she does not think it is "realistic in this economic climate to believe that an association can achieve more in the way of salary increases now" than what was achieved by Judge Lippman, herself and others who lobbied on behalf of establishing the pay commission. As far as unionizing judges, Judge Pfau said her reading of the state’s Taylor Law indicates that sitting judges do not have the power to form collective bargaining units. But she said the question is one for the Public Employment Relations Board. Jeffrey Lebowitz, a Court of Claims judge who is an acting Supreme Court justice in Queens, one of the organizers of the survey, said he believes that getting so many responses to the poll was convincing evidence that frustration over pay continues to linger.

"Judges are not necessarily the most activist-type people," said Justice Lebowitz, who is also president of the 400-member New York State Association of Designated Justices. "By in large, they tend not to get involved in things. But people are obviously very unhappy with the situation. I don't think they are so unhappy with the commission and the commission's implications for the future. But they are obviously unhappy about going without raises for so long." In addition to Judge Duggan, others involved in the survey effort were Brooklyn Family Court Judge Daniel Turbow and Queens Family Court Judge Barbara Salinitro. Judge Turbow said he is trying to organize a meeting in early February of representatives of the existing 10 judicial groups, which represent judges in different courts, to gauge the appetite for "further collective action." Judge Lebowitz argued that there is enough common ground among all judges to support a more unified approach to the pay issue. "I think there is a sense that by not speaking with a clear voice, we are kind of getting pushed around," he said.

The 11-question poll was posted online at Survey Monkey on Dec. 17; judges were given until Jan. 3 to respond. Respondents' confidentiality was guaranteed. At the same time, judges were prevented from answering more than once Of the state's 1,267 judges, 43.9 percent responded. Lee Miringoff, a pollster at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, who was not involved in the effort, called that a "decent response." "I think the tendency would be that you get responses from people who are fired up," Judge Duggan said. "Obviously, the fire is hottest under the proponents for raises and stronger action. A number who occupy administrative positions with OCA might feel loyalty in that regard and not participate." Joel Stashenko can be contacted at


just asking said...

How about an informal, formal (or whatever) poll on whether the judges (lawyers, the public, court employees) think New York's Office of Court Administration (OCA) is corrupt?

Anonymous said...

If they don't like the pay, why did they run for the position?

termite inspector said...

Gov. Christie's Disciple says, if you don't like the pay, quit and go take that job that will pay you what you think you're worth. By the way, your job performance is horrendous; there's no respect due for your tolerance of corruption.
The termites have spread from the main nest within Chief Judge Lippman, who belongs in jail, to infest you all. Please check this website for more info, bozos.

Anonymous said...

They never talk about the money that they get in benifits like money towards pension or thier medical. No one made them become judges it was thier choice.
If they do not like the pay they can go to work at McDonalds.

That survey is a Joke.
Everyone thinks they should get more pay.
Everyone wants more pay

I wonder who was dunb enough to pay for that survey.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonyomous. Learn how to freekin SPELL will ya ? Your comments will be more credible.

Jail4Judges said...

These snakes are over paid as it is and they have the nerve to shakedown the public. Fire them and let them go and do some honest work like digging ditches.

Anonymous said...

"ALBANY - Gov. Cuomo took his act on the road to the far corner of the state Thursday in hopes of mobilizing the public to back his ambitious agenda."

"The new governor also unveiled a new "Citizens Campaign" website, which solicits suggestions from the public on how best to reform state government."

Why start now?

termite inspector said...

"Citizens Campaign" website is what's called a honey pot to attract and identify you malcontents. Cuomo who is styled as the ultimate insider is not looking for your ideas.
Cuomo's agenda is Cuomo and those who kick in. Over half his advisory committees are lobbyists and special pleaders. Citizens needs to be replaced with "dolts with faith in the ultimate insider to clean out Albany."

Anonymous said...

Just like all those hearings Sampson held, and never produced anything for all the taxpayer money that he spent.

Anonymous said...

The 'Poor Judges" are frustrated, too damn bad!!! What the hell do they think the thousands of victims of these goon Judges are, are they frustrated??? You bet we are frustrated and never forget that we pay the bills and we don't need them or anyone to further abuse any of us!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you see the new informal poll? It says that Jonathan Lippman belongs in jail for high crimes and teason against the citizens of NY

Anonymous said...

I don't care what kind of a poll it is - it is no good it's all fixed by the big fixers - JUDGES!"

Anonymous said...

I demand to know how much Justice John K. McGuirk senior judge in the Orange County Supreme Court in Goshen, New York gets paid to rigged child custody and divorce cases? Furthermore, I want to know what are his fees to sell children in child custody cases for child porn and prostitution?

His a racist white trash and child sex trafficker..where are the Feds investigating all of these allegations?

Anonymous said...

Be advised that each and everyone of these 'legal' goons are repeatedly violating OUR CIVIL RIGHTS! So where is Rev. King when we need him?

Anonymous said...

The Goshen Court is a cesspool filled with pedophiles.
Crook polititians double dipping an example senator Larkin stealing a salary as a senator when he does not do $hit and helps cover up crimes against children plus he has been stealing a retirement pension as a Senator.
How can one get paid for a position one just got strangely got re-elected and a retierment pension for the same position?
There is more racketerring and fraud involving judges, attorneys and others from Orange County and working from the Goshen Court.
And what are the feds doing about the corruption and judicial pedophilia ring? NOTHING why? good question maybe in we will get an answer and a smile on our faces when the real feds go marching down to ORange COunty and knock them all out from top to bottom including FBI agents failing to do their job.
Ooooppppss I hope I have not said too much.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the citizens of the State of New York who by the way pay the bills vote on this issue in a general election?

Anonymous said...


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