Last week, Laura Zois wrote about a Baltimore Examiner’s report that Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell would propose that judges give up vacation leave as a way of helping with Maryland’s budget crisis.
The Maryland Daily Record reports today that a unanimous Maryland Court of Appeals approved the reduction for Maryland judges. “You have said to the people of the state of Maryland that the judges are not a breed apart,” Judge Bell said after the vote which reduced vacation days for Maryland judges in 2009 from 27 to 22. (I assume it is a one-year plan.) The estimated savings – mostly in money that would have been paid to retired judges who will be needed a bit less – will be $685,078.
Maryland judges who are taking the hit seem pleased to do their part. “As a bench, we think it fitting that the judges show leadership and support of this effort” to address the “severe economic challenges” facing Maryland, wrote Baltimore City Judge Marcella A. Holland. Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Sean D. Wallace supportively added that no one “joins the judiciary for the money.”
Obviously, this is not big savings for a problem that exceeds a billion dollars, but I think this is an important symbolic gesture from the Maryland judiciary that sends a message to everyone that sacrifices will have to be made.