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We Need Judges to Work Harder, So We Should Pay Them More Money, Lawmaker Says

Posted Mar 23, 2011 3:49 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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We need judges to work harder to bring a heavy backlog of undecided cases under control. So we should pay those who step up to the plate and get the job done more money, an influential Florida lawmaker is suggesting.

Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, chairs the budget committee and is expected to introduce the Judicial Workload Incentive Plan as part of the state's next spending plan. It calls for judges to get an extra $3,000 per quarter, for a total of $12,000 per year, if they meet productivity quotas, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

His idea is controversial: Another state lawmaker, Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, says the judiciary is well-paid and points to prosecutors and public defenders making around $40,000 a year and facing possible salary cuts as they struggle to pay student loans as those who really need the money.

"But a judge who's knocking down a buck and a quarter? Do your job," Bennett said, arguing that the state's judges should be expected to work hard for the money they are already getting. "Nobody else I know in the state of Florida is getting a raise."

In fact, the article notes, county judges in Florida get $134,280, and the state's circuit court judges are paid $142,178 annually.

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