Lippman: Pay hike a mixed bag for state judiciary

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The state’s top judge said he’s glad to see New York’s judiciary will be receiving a raise for the first time since 1999, but said the state’s judges deserved more.

Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, said today’s recommendation from the state Judicial Compensation Commission for a 27 percent pay hike over the next three years was a “glass half empty/half full” situation for jurists.

“I’m pleased that even in these terrible economic times judges are getting raises that they so richly deserve, and I’m pleased that on April 1, New York state judges’ salaries will at least have some rational relationship to other states, to federal judges, to the private sector,” Lippman said in an interview with Gannett’s Albany bureau. “But at the same time, I’m disappointed that after 13 years without even a cost-of-living adjustment that judges didn’t get an even more significant raise.”

“I certainly acknowledge that 27.3 percent in these times is a very significant raise, but if you did adjust on a cost-of-living basis, we do think they should have gotten an even bigger raise,” he added.

Lippman also said he would have rather seen the full 27 percent raise implemented immediately, rather than annual raises spread out through April 2013.

Nevertheless, Lippman said he was pleased with the commission’s work, and didn’t fault any of the seven members for how they voted in today’s 4-3 tally on the pay hike. Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed three members to the commissioner, Lippman appointed two, and both the Senate and Assembly had one appointee.

“I think the process worked because it created a framework by which the three branches of government were really required to deal with this issue even in these economic times,” Lippman said. “I think we would all agree that with everything going on with the economy, if it wasn’t for that legislation that created the commission, no one would have this on their agenda for years.”

Vincent Doyle, president of the New York State Bar Association, said the raise doesn’t go far enough.

“During the past 12 years, the cost-of-living increased by 40 percent, eroding judicial salaries. Yet the commission voted to adjust judicial salaries by only 17 percent in 2012,” Doyle said in a statement. The panel’s decision raises judicial salaries by 17 percent in 2012 and five percent in each of the two following years.

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6 Comments

  1. DISORDER IN THE COURT on

    9% A YEAR??? ARE THEY KIDDING? THIS SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES AND IF THEY ARE GETTING THIS KIND OF MONEY, THEN THE TYPE OF JUSTICE THAT RESULTS SHOULD BE CORRESPONDINGLY HIGH. SADLY, IT IS NOT.

  2. Perry Masonic on

    Cheeze, they haven’t had a raise in ten years. They have felons appearing before them who make more money than they do, and are assigned public defenders. Pay them peanuts and the courts will be eventually run by the dismal quality of lawyers that we have now in the NYS Assembly and they’ll be accepting cash donations from defense attorneys

  3. Judd for the D-fence on

    It’s not that Judges don’t deserve a raise- they do. They are just so pompous and arrogant about it. They don’t care that loads of other people in the workforce are suffering with minimal raises – they are just better…more important…how COULD you expect me to live on $139K per year. I DESERVE more! That’s what grates.

    The sense of entitlement. You ran for judge. you could’ve stayed in private practice making the biggo bucks. But you chose not to – you wanted the Black robes, and the deferential “Your Honor” thrown at you at every setting. So, there’s a price to pay: it’s called “less salary”.

  4. You’re right. They should get a raise, but instead of “Your Honor, they should be referred to as “Your Dirtbag.” This way, you’re happy; they’re happy.

  5. Right-said Fred on

    Excuse me, Perry Moronic, but no one said they should called “dirtbag”. The alternative is not to consider them Royalty, either. I agree w/Judd — every news story from Lipman et. al. talks about how hard judges work as if they are separate from the rest of society. They aion’t the only ones who have suffered from the rising prices and the lower buying power. Can’t they see that? Or is it always about them, and tough nuts to others???

    Well tough nuts to them. 27% over 3 years is better than plenty of others — including those who lost their jobs and are getting 0%.

  6. Perrry Masonic on

    Perry Moronic? So long as we’re regressing to second grade, I respond with: “Happy Birthday to you. You live in a zoo. You look like a monkey. And you smell like one, too.”

    If, like these judges, you haven’t had a raise in 10 years, your contribution to whomever you work for is obviously nil or less than nil and furthermore, even without any raises, you are being overcompensated and married into the family, while not noticing that someone is trying to tell you something.