Friday, June 5, 2009

Perdue, judges avoid chaos over budget

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Ah, civility. It's a beautiful thing, ya know?

Gov. Sonny Perdue and Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears headed off a legal battle today when the two sides reached a compromise about state judges' funding.

The governor, pointing to revenue collections that have been less-than-positive thanks to a hellish economy, recently ordered state departments to cut 25 percent from their June budgets. He issued the same ultimatum to the judicial branch.

Not so fast, Sears said. She pointed to the Georgia Constitution, that dusty old document which clearly states that the judicial and executive branches are separate. The issue became a bone of contention between the two branches. Just yesterday, Perdue said he'd withhold the funds and warned the judges against filing a lawsuit.

But today, just an hour before the Council of Superior Court Judges was scheduled to meet and discuss possibly filing a lawsuit against Perdue, both sides said they'd reached a compromise. Perdue withdrew his demand and the judicial branch will instead delay payments and expenses until next fiscal year.

“I know that we are both confident in the strength of our legal positions,” Sears wrote in a letter delivered today to the Governor. “But I also know that as public servants our primary mandate is to do all we can on behalf of this state we both love so much.”

Perdue wrote Sears a letter as well, telling her he hoped the compromise would work best for the state.

And everyone lived happily ever after, the end, hooray.

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