Gov. Bentley to release $2M in appropriations to cash-strapped U - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Gov. Bentley to release $2M in appropriations to cash-strapped Unified Judicial System

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A spokesman for the Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts says Chief Justice Roy Moore was given word by Governor Bentley in a phonecall and in a letter that the financially-squeezed system will get some extra money.

Spokesman Scott Hoyem said Moore was called by the governor on Saturday and recieved a letter Monday in regards to a conditional appropriation to fund the state courts. Governor Bentley said in the communication that he is "able to release $2 million of the conditional appropriation for FY2014."

After recieving the news, Moore sent a memo to officials and employees of the Unified Judicial System explaining that, "We will maintain our current staffing levels and continue our current policy of Wednesday closings in Circuit Clerks' offices to help insure that court records are properly and promptly maintained..."

[DOCUMENT: Moore memo to UJS officials and employees (.pdf)]

Moore's letter indicated that the court system has not received the $8.5 million conditional appropriation promised by the legislature, of which some $6.5 million is needed to avoid layoffs. The letter says the governor, "assured me [Moore] that he would help with further supplemental appropriations when the Legislature convenes in January."

"Better days are on the horizon," Moore said, adding ,"we will certainly be looking to increase staffing and obtain merit raises which are long overdue."

Moore warned in March that the court system could not take anymore cuts, telling the Montgomery Rotary Club that the courts have not been treated fairly when it comes to fundind and that the legislature has done little to fix the problem.

"We're a branch of government and right now we've been cut $38 million since 2012. The legislature's lost $3 million. The executive branch has grown by $48 million so that is not taking our share of the loss. If we were taking our share of the loss we would still be in business," Moore said at the time.

In July, Moore caused some controversy when he said in a WSFA 12 News interview that state funds were being given to agencies like the Alabama Pre-K program that did not deserve that money.

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