The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

S.C. Judiciary: Why Not Cut from the Top?

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According to S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, the Judicial Department will need to lay off “clerks and court reporters” if the Senate and House don’t agree to raise court fines/fees by $20 million. “Without those employees,” adds Toal, “the court system would have difficulty operating.”

Assuming Toal is right, why not make cuts elsewhere, starting with senior staff? At the very least, a mix of cuts – beginning at the top – would be the most “just.”

Note the top earners (including one clerk) in the Judicial Department:

  • Chief Justice Jean Toal: $144,029.00
  • Four Associate Supreme Court Justices: $137,171.00 each
  • Chief Appeals Court Judge: $135,798.00
  • Eight Associate Appeals Court Judges: $133,741.00 each

 Top Judicial Staff:

  • Joan Assey, Dir. Technology Management: $123,453.00
  • Lesley Coggiola, Disciplinary Counsel: $123,453.00
  • Rosalyn Frierson, Dir. Court Administration: $123,453.00
  • Daniel Shearouse, Clerk, Supreme Court: $123,453.00
  • Thomas Timberlake, Dir. Finance & Personnel: $123,453.00
  • Marjorie Goodale, Chief Staff Atty., Supreme Court: $100,431.00
  • Timothy Hayes, Info. Technology Manager: $96,412.00
  • Christopher Rogers, Info. Technology Manager: $90,006.00
  • Carolyn Cracraft, Finance Manager: $89,845.00
  • Mark Crenshaw, Senior Applications Analyst: $89,526.00

Putting things into perspective, Governor Mark Sanford earns $106,078 a year. Moreover, per capita income in South Carolina is among the lowest (47th) in the nation – $31,799 for 2009. Meanwhile, public sector spending and hiring keeps growing.

Instead of increasing South Carolina’s hidden tax burden by raising fines/fees, why not cut spending at the top?

All salaries as of 8/10/09, Source: The State

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Written by Jameson Taylor

May 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm

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