Nevada Legislature doesn’t provide raises for judges, court staff |

Nevada Legislature doesn’t provide raises for judges, court staff

Despite arguments Nevada’s judges haven’t had a pay raise in a decade, lawmakers let the bill to raise judicial salaries die in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

In addition, the request to provide raises of up to 20 percent for high court staff was rejected.

AB46 never received a hearing in Ways and Means because of the size of the increases. It would have added $30,000 a year to the base pay received by Supreme Court, Appellate Court and District Court judges statewide.

The bill would have raised Supreme Court salaries from $170,000 to $200,000 a year, the base salaries of Appellate Court judges from $165,000 to $195,000 a year and those of District Court judges from $160,000 to $190,000.

Those salaries, however, aren’t the total compensation judges get in Nevada. They’re also paid for other duties mandated by law or the constitution. That includes their service on the Pardons Board for which they get a maximum of 22 percent more annually depending on how long they’ve been on the bench. That system is designed to mirror what the state’s District Judges receive in longevity pay that kicks in after their fourth year as a judge and adds 2 percent a year up to a cap of 22 percent.

That would have made maximum judicial pay $244,000 for the Supreme Court, $237,900 for appellate judges and $231,800 for District Judges with 11 years of service on the bench.

The 2007 Legislature approved the last judicial pay raises that took effect in January 2009.

There are currently seven seats on the Supreme Court and three on the Intermediate Appellate Court plus 82 district judges for a total of 92 state-funded judicial posts. That would have put the total annual cost of the $30,000 pay raises at $2.76 million.

In addition, the Supreme Court asked lawmakers to consider adding $3 million over the coming biennium to provide pay raises ranging from 6 percent to 20 percent for 109 court staff.

During the court’s budget presentation, Justice Jim Hardesty said the study lawmakers approved two years ago showed seven of 15 job classifications at the court are paid less than the same or similar positions in Carson City, Clark, Elko and Washoe counties.

He framed it as an equity issue saying the salary disparities make it difficult to hire and retain qualified staff including clerks and attorneys because they must compete with those jurisdictions for candidates.

Those staff will, however, receive the same 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment other state workers are getting effective July 1.