Judge complaining about not getting a raise.

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Judge complaining about not getting a raise.

Post by NomAnor15 » 2007-04-10 01:59pm

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The New York Times wrote:New York’s Top Judge Threatens Suit to Get Raises for Bench

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By MICHAEL COOPER
Published: April 10, 2007

ALBANY, April 9 — New York’s chief judge said on Monday that she was infuriated that the new state budget failed to include a long-sought raise for the state’s judges and threatened to sue the state if the judges do not get raises by June.

The unusually blunt remarks by the chief judge, Judith S. Kaye, highlighted the extent to which the failure of judges to get raises since 1999 has frustrated the bench, and the way it has divided the state’s judicial, legislative and executive branches.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer included $111 million in his budget proposal to give the state’s judges a retroactive raise. Lawmakers, though, want a raise of their own, so they supported a proposal to create a commission to raise the salaries of both judges and legislators. But the governor has not yet signed off on a raise for lawmakers, so the judicial raise was dropped during closed-door budget negotiations.

Judge Kaye assailed the other branches of government for failing to agree on the pay increase, and warned that the situation was creating a crisis in the state’s courts.

“It is nothing short of disgraceful that we have been brought to this point, that for more than eight years, longer than any other judges in America — likely longer than any workers in any field — New York State judges, for no reason other than Albany politics, have been denied even a cost-of-living adjustment to their salaries,” Judge Kaye said on Monday during a rare news conference at the Greek Revival courthouse here.

When judges got their last raise, in 1999, the salary of a State Supreme Court judge was increased to $136,700, bringing it in line with the salary of a Federal District Court judge. Since then, the salary of a Federal District Court judge has risen to over $165,000, more than the $156,000 Judge Kaye earns as the state’s chief judge. The salaries of all New York’s state judges, though, have remained the same.

A recent study by the National Center for State Courts found that New York’s judges were the 11th highest paid in the nation, but that when the salaries were adjusted to reflect regional cost-of-living factors, New York ranked 37th in the nation. Because first-year lawyers at many firms make much more than judges, recruiting top talent can be difficult.

The pay issue has galvanized the bench. Judge Kaye said that some judges had urged their colleagues to consider work stoppages or slowdowns, which she would not condone. Other judges have spoken of unionizing. Three judges have brought their own lawsuit against the state, seeking raises. Some judges have even asked if they could recuse themselves when legislators appeared before them as lawyers.

Judge Kaye said that if no action was taken by June on judicial salaries “the only remaining course of action available to us may well be to institute litigation.”

She said that a lawsuit would be a last resort, and that she would recuse herself if it were heard by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. In the meantime, she said, she was asking for a chance to address the Legislature on the topic, and asking the state comptroller and state attorney general whether there is any way for her to increase the pay of judges without waiting for the Legislature to act.

Judge Kaye said that it was unseemly for judges to have to go “hat in hand, on bended knee” pleading for raises, so she has proposed having a commission meet every four years to set judicial salaries.

And she warned that public haggling over money could undermine confidence in a judiciary that sometimes rules on the powers of the executive and legislative branches, as it did in recent years by voiding New York’s death penalty law and ruling that governors, not lawmakers, have the upper hand in making budgets.

“No judiciary can maintain public confidence in its independence if the public can question whether decisions are influenced by efforts to encourage pay raises or retaliate for their denial,” she said in a brief address to reporters.

Legislative leaders have said that they expect judicial raises to be addressed at some point. An aide to Governor Spitzer said that the governor still thinks that the Legislature should approve the raises for judges on its own, without linking it to a raise in the salaries of lawmakers (which, under state law, could not take effect until 2009). The aide said that because many salaries in the executive branch had also remained unchanged, the Legislature would still have leverage to push for its own pay increase.

Judge Kaye, in the meantime, is adjusting to the unusual role of public supplicant. During a question-and-answer session with reporters here, the judge, who usually asks the questions from the bench, found herself fielding them from reporters.

Faced with one of the multipronged questions reporters are so fond of, the judge said, “I would rule that out of order as a complex multiple question.” Then she answered.

I can't even begin to describe how much this irritates me.
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Post by Lonestar » 2007-04-10 02:02pm

Most Civil Servants(I was tempted to say "all") get annual Cost of living wage adjustments. Why should judges be different?
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Post by NomAnor15 » 2007-04-10 02:18pm

Because judges already get paid vastly more than most other 'civil servants', and far more than 'cost-of-living' increases would entail. Name me another civil servant that gets paid $138,000 per year.
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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 02:29pm

NomAnor15 wrote:Because judges already get paid vastly more than most other 'civil servants', and far more than 'cost-of-living' increases would entail. Name me another civil servant that gets paid $138,000 per year.
Congressmen come to mind.
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Post by Faram » 2007-04-10 02:33pm

NomAnor15 wrote:Because judges already get paid vastly more than most other 'civil servants', and far more than 'cost-of-living' increases would entail. Name me another civil servant that gets paid $138,000 per year.
So if you earn "too much" you cannot get a raise?

Where is the cutoff? 70k 80k?
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Post by NomAnor15 » 2007-04-10 02:43pm

I don't necessarily mean that they shouldn't get a raise, although that may be excessive, but she shouldn't be complaining about it like this. "Oh look at me, I only make 3.5 times the national average income. I can't work for that little". Just be patient, you know? Anyway, @Zod, yes, Congressmen come to mind. And I don't they they need raises all the time either (which they seem to be giving themselves just fine). Especially when they take so damn long to raise the minimum wage.
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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 02:47pm

NomAnor15 wrote:I don't necessarily mean that they shouldn't get a raise, although that may be excessive, but she shouldn't be complaining about it like this. "Oh look at me, I only make 3.5 times the national average income. I can't work for that little". Just be patient, you know? Anyway, @Zod, yes, Congressmen come to mind. And I don't they they need raises all the time either (which they seem to be giving themselves just fine). Especially when they take so damn long to raise the minimum wage.
Who said anything about gaining raises all the time dumbass? The judges are complaining because they haven't had a raise in nearly ten years. It helps if you read the article. :roll:

Additionally, there's many lawyers making well more than your typical judge. If judges aren't entitled to an occasional raise in their salary then they won't have much incentives to remain on the bench. It's not like they're in some shitty blue-collar job flipping burgers or plunging toiilets for a living where no education is required for cthulhu's sake.
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Post by aerius » 2007-04-10 02:53pm

If I'm reading this right, all the raises for state government lawmakers and judges got killed, so no one's getting a raise. So the judges then say that they need their own separate raise, because ummm...because the federal judges got one. I don't know about you, but the way I see it is this. They ain't federal judges, why should they deserved to get paid like federal judges? I don't get that.
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Post by Glocksman » 2007-04-10 02:59pm

General Zod wrote:Additionally, there's many lawyers making well more than your typical judge. If judges aren't entitled to an occasional raise in their salary then they won't have much incentives to remain on the bench. It's not like they're in some shitty blue-collar job flipping burgers or plunging toiilets for a living where no education is required for cthulhu's sake.

This post from the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog is referring to Federal judges, but the same principles apply.
Prof. Ilya Somin wrote:Judicial Pay Part II - The Non-Salary Benefits of Being a Federal Judge:

In my last post, I argued that the quality of the federal judiciary is not suffering from the fact that most judges could make far more money in the private sector. Why would outstanding lawyers be willing to become federal judges in spite of the lower pay? The answer is that being a judge has tremendous non-salary benefits relative to private practice. When these are taken into account, the total compensation of judges (salary + fringe benefits + nonpecuniary benefits) does not seem inferior to that of top private lawyers. Here are some of the relative benefits of being a judge:

I. Power and Prestige.

Federal judges have tremendous power and prestige. Whether or not the judiciary should have as much power as it does, there is little question that judges have considerable influence over law and public policy. Few if any private sector lawyers can even begin to compare.

Being a judge is also generally viewed as more prestigious than being a partner at a big law firm, even one who earns millions of dollars. Few doubt that John Roberts increased his level of prestige when he left his job as a partner Hogan & Hartson (one of the nation's best law firms) to become a judge on the D.C. Circuit.

II. Shorter Hours and Better Working Conditions.

As a general rule, judges work far fewer hours than private sector lawyers. This is not to say that judges are a bunch of lazy slackers. Far from it. But few work the 80 or 90 [update: 70 to 80 is probably more accurate] hour weeks that are routine at big law firms. Unlike private sector lawyers, judges also do not have to answer to clients and do not have to cancel vacations or make other painful, sudden changes in their schedules to accomodate client needs or those of senior partners in the firm.

III. More Interesting Work.

Obviously, this is in the eye of the beholder. However, it is fair to say that many federal judges often get to work on extremely interesting constitutional and statutory cases. Even the most highly paid private lawyers often have to spend a large proportion of their time working on relatively boring issues.

This is not to say that all lawyers would find judicial work more interesting than private practice. Tastes differ. But the key point is that a large number of top lawyers surely do find judicial work more stimulating and that is enough to ensure a high quality judiciary.

IV. Job Security.

It is perhaps an obvious point, but federal judges have virtually absolute job security for life. Even the best private law firms take the risk of going bankrupt or suffering a sudden decline in profitability that could lead to layoffs.

V. Extremely Generous Pension Plans.

As noted in my previous post, a federal judge who has reached the age of 65 and served at least 15 years can retire at full pay. Very few if any private sector law firms are equally generous.

I realize, of course, that many of these same points (except the one about power!) could be made about law professors. They help explain why our salaries are lower than those of law firm lawyers too. Fair enough. For what it's worth, I don't think that our pay is systematically inadequate either. But here at GMU, it is too low, dammit:)!

UPDATE: For the benefit of non-lawyers (and fearful law students!), I should make it clear that the 70-80 hour work weeks I referred to are prevalent only at big firms in several major markets. Lawyers in secondary markets or at smaller firms typically work fewer hours (though still quite a lot). On the other hand, these other types of lawyers typically earn lower salaries than federal judges do. According to the US Department of Labor, the median lawyers' salary (as of 2004) is just under $95,000. I am NOT arguing that judges should be paid the same salary as the median lawyer. But it is important to understand that those lawyers who earn far more than the median (and especially those who earn far more than federal judges) typically work far longer hours than judges do.
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While judges who live in areas where the cost of living is significantly above the national average (San Fransisco, NYC, etc.) should have COLA adjustments made to their pay, across-the-board raises for Federal judges really aren't necessary.
As far as NY State judges go, perhaps increases are needed, but most of the same non-salary perks (lifetime tenure being the most notable exception) apply to them as well.
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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 03:00pm

aerius wrote:If I'm reading this right, all the raises for state government lawmakers and judges got killed, so no one's getting a raise. So the judges then say that they need their own separate raise, because ummm...because the federal judges got one. I don't know about you, but the way I see it is this. They ain't federal judges, why should they deserved to get paid like federal judges? I don't get that.
There probably isn't a cause to give them a raise to the point of a Federal judge, but whichever way you look at it not getting a raise for nearly ten years would be pretty shitty regardless of who you work for.
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Post by NomAnor15 » 2007-04-10 03:00pm

General Zod wrote: Who said anything about gaining raises all the time dumbass? The judges are complaining because they haven't had a raise in nearly ten years. It helps if you read the article. :roll:

Additionally, there's many lawyers making well more than your typical judge. If judges aren't entitled to an occasional raise in their salary then they won't have much incentives to remain on the bench. It's not like they're in some shitty blue-collar job flipping burgers or plunging toilets for a living where no education is required for cthulhu's sake.

Ahh shit, I didn't see the 'ten years' bit. Sorry about that. I understand that they're making less than many lawyers, but really, wouldn't you be perfectly happy with the amount a judge makes? Anyway, if you feel that strongly, then I'll drop it. I'm just saying that it annoys me that they want more, when they already make so much more than so many people.
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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 03:02pm

NomAnor15 wrote: Ahh shit, I didn't see the 'ten years' bit. Sorry about that. I understand that they're making less than many lawyers, but really, wouldn't you be perfectly happy with the amount a judge makes? Anyway, if you feel that strongly, then I'll drop it. I'm just saying that it annoys me that they want more, when they already make so much more than so many people.
Jobs that require higher levels of education get paid more, it's a simple fact. If you want a higher paying job then get a better education.
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Post by Faram » 2007-04-10 03:02pm

Same thing all over, envy holds qualified people sallery back. If they do not happen to be a manager.

I earn well above the national average, and was recently told buy a relastate broker that he tought I earned to much.

He has two years in highschool to get his fucking sallary, but I have a lifelong intrest, all sort of certifications and 10 years on the job expirience. Fucking assholes if anyone could do the job the judges or I would not earn so much, but would you like a judge whos previos expirence is flipping burgers?

Also I told him that he can have my pay if he could explan that a subnet mask is.

And I am in the same situation, there is a general cutoff, no raises! So I am looking for a new job. Those judges shold do the same.

Lets see if that numbnuts broker can administrate a network in four different cities with 400 pc, 20 servers and 600 enployees, alone.
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Post by Mr. T » 2007-04-10 03:43pm

I've always been of the perspective that the government should try to keep pace with private sector salaries. It doesn't have to match them but should be within the ballpark. You could argue that people should be going in to government work not solely for the money, but realistically if a public sector job is much much less lucrative financially than a private sector job, even those that might prefer to work in the public sector might be discouraged from doing so.

It's reasonable to expect a little less pay in return for a more meaningful (public sector) job, but this has its limits in what we can reasonably expect of people. And I'd rather have the very best working in the public sector as opposed to losing them in the private sector.
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2007-04-10 03:43pm

And here in Singapore, the Govt just issued an edict to raise the salaries of ministers by up to 33%, and it is already a million SGD at the minimum......
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2007-04-10 03:44pm

Just a quick note, it is 1.6 SGD to 1 USD at the moment.
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Post by brianeyci » 2007-04-10 05:05pm

Reading Glocksman's post, I don't really have much sympathy for judges. No, if you make too much money, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't get a raise. But I don't agree that civil servants should keep pace with the private sector--they should only do so if there's a manpower shortage, like math teachers. This pay more money = higher quality workers is always repeated over and over as if a mantra but I never hear a proof of it. The government cannot in many cases keep up with the private sector because governments are not set up to make profit, and the private sector is.

In other words if you make a lot of money, don't expect the vast majority of people who live day to day to understand at all. Cost of living increases are for the lower end of the workforce, to hear people making 100k+ a year complain about cost of living is ridiculous. One is reminded of a prominent NBA star saying he needed a raise just so he could feed his children. Judges shouldn't even mention cost of living at all--they should just say, you give us more money or we leave that is it.

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Post by aerius » 2007-04-10 05:25pm

Mr. T wrote:I've always been of the perspective that the government should try to keep pace with private sector salaries. It doesn't have to match them but should be within the ballpark. You could argue that people should be going in to government work not solely for the money, but realistically if a public sector job is much much less lucrative financially than a private sector job, even those that might prefer to work in the public sector might be discouraged from doing so.
3 words. Benefits. Job security. Work in the public sector and you have both in abundance, you can plan out your life for the next 30 years and not have to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from. You and your family's healthcare, dental, eyecare, life insurance, and many other things are taken care of. It's vanishingly rare for the private sector to match all that. The peace of mind that comes with all those goodies is worth millions.
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Post by Howedar » 2007-04-10 05:31pm

brianeyci wrote:In other words if you make a lot of money, don't expect the vast majority of people who live day to day to understand at all. Cost of living increases are for the lower end of the workforce, to hear people making 100k+ a year complain about cost of living is ridiculous.
Why is that ridiculous? Do increasing prices of goods not affect them as well? Do luxury items not also increase in cost? Have they not earned a higher standard of living than many others by virtue of their education?

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Post by brianeyci » 2007-04-10 05:35pm

Howedar wrote:Why is that ridiculous? Do increasing prices of goods not affect them as well? Do luxury items not also increase in cost? Have they not earned a higher standard of living than many others by virtue of their education?
When I hear of cost of living I think of single mothers and so on who actually are threatened by homelessness with no raising wages, not someone making 100k.

If they've earned a higher standard of living by virtue of their education, goody for them, quit and get a better job. If they can't, then too bad, maybe their education isn't worth as much as they think it is and being a judge isn't that bad a job. It sounds like whining, especially in light of Glocksman's post.

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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 05:42pm

brianeyci wrote:
Howedar wrote:Why is that ridiculous? Do increasing prices of goods not affect them as well? Do luxury items not also increase in cost? Have they not earned a higher standard of living than many others by virtue of their education?
When I hear of cost of living I think of single mothers and so on who actually are threatened by homelessness with no raising wages, not someone making 100k.
So they're not permitted to gripe that they haven't had a raise in nearly ten years just because they make more than minimum wage? Care to point out the magical line separating where someone is and isn't permitted to bitch about not getting a raise?
If they've earned a higher standard of living by virtue of their education, goody for them, quit and get a better job. If they can't, then too bad, maybe their education isn't worth as much as they think it is and being a judge isn't that bad a job. It sounds like whining, especially in light of Glocksman's post.
Perhaps you'd care to explain why civil servants are not entitled to periodic salary adjustments.
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Post by brianeyci » 2007-04-10 05:46pm

General Zod wrote:So they're not permitted to gripe that they haven't had a raise in nearly ten years just because they make more than minimum wage? Care to point out the magical line separating where someone is and isn't permitted to bitch about not getting a raise?
They are permitted to gripe, but don't expect anybody to understand when they mention cost of living.

There is no magical line, and I never claimed the minimum wage was the cutoff point. You cannot live off the minimum wage. Cost of living means exactly that to me -- the cost to live. If they can live, then they should not gripe about cost of living but they should gripe about not being paid enough compared to the private sector, that is it.
Perhaps you'd care to explain why civil servants are not entitled to periodic salary adjustments.
Who said civil servants are not entitled to periodic salary adjustments? I submit that civil servants should be the last to get salary adjustments, and people on the lower end should get them first before civil servants should even be considered, given the benefits already outlined by other posters working in the public sector.

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Post by General Zod » 2007-04-10 06:00pm

brianeyci wrote:
They are permitted to gripe, but don't expect anybody to understand when they mention cost of living.

There is no magical line, and I never claimed the minimum wage was the cutoff point. You cannot live off the minimum wage. Cost of living means exactly that to me -- the cost to live. If they can live, then they should not gripe about cost of living but they should gripe about not being paid enough compared to the private sector, that is it.
It seems like you're focusing on only a very small aspect of the complaint. Cost of living increases were just an insult to injury. I'm fairly sure that even joe blow can understand at being upset by having no raise for nearly ten years.
Who said civil servants are not entitled to periodic salary adjustments?
You seem to be giving that impression from your arguments.
I submit that civil servants should be the last to get salary adjustments, and people on the lower end should get them first before civil servants should even be considered, given the benefits already outlined by other posters working in the public sector.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but it doesn't sound like you have a very good grasp on how economics work. . . .since there isn't any universal pay scale that magically determines when everyone gets bonuses. Raises depends widely on the job, the location, the market for the job, cost of living factors, experience level, and a host of other things. Those factors can even change from company to company.
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brianeyci
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Post by brianeyci » 2007-04-10 06:15pm

General Zod wrote:It seems like you're focusing on only a very small aspect of the complaint. Cost of living increases were just an insult to injury. I'm fairly sure that even joe blow can understand at being upset by having no raise for nearly ten years.
Not really. First many "joe blow" would say, he hasn't had a raise in ten years too so people working on the public purse shouldn't complain. Joe blow would also say, 100k a year is more than enough money to live on. And I'm not focusing on a small part of the complaint. You've ignored it twice but I've referred to the posts by Aerius and Glocksman which list benefits to working in the public sector worth far more than 100k. Aerius even says it's worth millions and I'm not about to doubt that given he works in the public sector himself.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but it doesn't sound like you have a very good grasp on how economics work. . . .since there isn't any universal pay scale that magically determines when everyone gets bonuses. Raises depends widely on the job, the location, the market for the job, cost of living factors, experience level, and a host of other things. Those factors can even change from company to company.
The public sector is not the private sector. Public servants should consider that before they line their own pockets, they should raise the quality of life for the people they serve, and serve those people's interests. Higher salaries for them means more taxes on others. If joe blow doesn't like politicians or judges getting more money, well too bad people making 100k shouldn't be entitled to raises. It sounds populist, and usually I'm not a populist, but in terms of money and salary I am.

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Darth Wong
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Post by Darth Wong » 2007-04-10 06:34pm

The problem with public-sector salaries is that they are determined by policy, not supply and demand. You will always see complaints of salaries being either unfairly low or unfairly high as long as the salary structure of civil servants is largely immune to supply/demand fluctuations.

The normal dynamics that affect worker salary in private-sector companies are either absent or heavily suppressed in government.
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