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Governor establishes Judicial Pay Commission

Gov. David A. Paterson hands a signing pen to Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein, far right, chairwoman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, to ink the new law establishing a Commission on Judicial Compensation. Also pictured are, from left, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman; Victor A. Kovner, chair of the Fund for Modern Courts; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.; and New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger.

NEW YORK CITY — Gov. David A. Paterson today signed legislation establishing a special Commission on Judicial Compensation to review and recommend appropriate adjustments to judicial compensation for New York’s judges.

Among those joining him were Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; New York State Bar Association President Stephen P. Younger; Victor Kovner, chair of the Fund for Modern Courts; and members of the New York State judiciary.

“This legislation will go far toward making the New York State bench a magnet for the nation’s best and most qualified judges,” Paterson said. “Our judges are entitled to fair compensation.”

Judges have not had a pay increase since 1999. The commission ensure judicial compensation is reflective of the judges’ responsibilities and levels of expertise.

“A permanent commission dedicated to judicial compensation is a very positive development for the future of an independent and strong Judiciary in New York,” said Judge Lippman.

Every four years, the commission will determine what the judicial salaries shall be and its  recommendations, which will have the force of law, will become effective the next fiscal year.

“For more than a decade, our judges have expertly handled expanding dockets, while seeing their pay diminished due to the lack of fair and adequate pay raises,” said Younger. “Our judges have gone far too long without any adjustment in their pay.”