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Superior Court cuts probation department staff by 22

Citizen Staff Writer



Pima County Superior Court officials notified 22 adult probation department employees this week that they would be laid off April 1.

The employees include surveillance officers, dispatchers, teachers and other support staff.

The layoffs were attributed to “severe budget cutbacks required by the state Legislature in the current fiscal year,” a news release states.

“We looked at every possible way to deal with this and in the end, when we looked at exactly what we were faced with, right now, really, this was the only thing we could do,” said Presiding Judge Jan E. Kearney.

“As you are well aware, the financial picture changes a lot and all I can tell you is this is where we are today,” Kearney said. “It could change tomorrow.

“It’s a terribly sad day.”

Most funding for adult probation services in the state comes from the Arizona Supreme Court’s judicial department budget.

Superior Court gets more than half of its funding for adult probation from the state.

Almost 90 percent of the court’s budget goes toward personnel, the news release states. The court previously cut expenditures “to the bone,” including hiring freezes on 58 vacant positions, 33 of which are in the probation department.

By the close of this fiscal year June 30, at least 80 court staffers will have been laid off, according to the news release. The court also already cut a special probation fee funding that supported other positions, the news release states.

“There is no prospect that state funding for probation will return to its previous levels in the next two fiscal years,” the news release states.

The court also dealt with a 7 percent cut in county funding this year and expects more to come, according to the news release.

In the past few years, the adult probation department has initiated some programs designed not only to cut down on probation revocation, but also to save taxpayers’ dollars by focusing on education and other areas.

Kearney said those programs, even though they saved money, are also in jeopardy.

“There has to be a negative impact,” Kearney said. “These were very, very valuable people for us and the community, which made today an extremely difficult one.”

Affected employees will not receive a severance package, Kearney said.

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