Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oyez! Oyez!

Pennsylvania courts, asking for more money, get slapped by Pittsburgh newspaper for cost increases and high salaries.

Oyez! Oyez!


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Castille and Company are not going to like today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

BE: The state Supreme Court chief justice and former Philly DA has a problem?

JB: According to the newspaper, he's got a misplaced argument. He's seeking a 25 percent increase in court funding at a time the Guv is proposing a 50 percent cut in higher-ed funding, and today's Trib says the state judicial payroll jumped 20 percent in the last six years.

BE: Wish my pay took such a hop.

JB: Get in line. The newspaper reports that among the state's 1,000-plus judges and 1,000-plus staffers nearly 30 percent pull in more than $100,000 a-year.

BE: Do they have any openings.

JB: Very few. Trib says during the period in question their "cost-cutting" efforts included reducing their compliment by five positions.

BE: May it please the court.

JB: Apparently, it doesn't. Castille claims the state's "headed toward a crisis" unless the courts get more dough.

BE: What's the "crisis," a drop in the state's median household income?

JB: Which, by the by, is around $50,000. That's below the national average. So maybe we need the judiciary to pull it up for all of us.

BE: Speaking of national averages, how do Castille and our judges stack up in pay to the rest of the states?

JB: Trib says Castille's $195,138 salary makes him the 3rd highest paid chief in the land and cites a new National Center for State Courts salary survey that puts our judges among the highest paid in the nation.

BE: Just like our legislators.

JB: Hey, when you want the very best, ya gotta be willing to pay the price.

BE: Which is why our judges and lawmakers get automatic annual pay increases.

JB: Excellence doesn't come cheap. Grrrr.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

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