From Delaware State News
DOVER — Chief Justice Leo Strine made his final scheduled appearance as the head of Delaware’s judiciary Monday. The chief justice, who plans to step down from the bench at the end of the month, presented his budget request to state officials, although he outlined it in writing earlier this month.
Budget hearings began early this year to allow Chief Justice Strine to stick to his planned departure date, with his post not set to be filled immediately.
These fall hearings represent the next step in the budget process, giving state departments a chance to present their spending requests for the fiscal year starting next July. From here, the governor works with the Office of Management and Budget to prepare his budget recommendations, which are officially unveiled and presented to lawmakers in January.
Although budget asks are submitted to OMB and the governor ahead of time, the presentations enable budget officials to get more information on certain things and hear from members of the public.
The chief justice’s letters, sent to OMB Director Mike Jackson Oct. 15, were an opportunity to deliver a final message, and the priorities as detailed in them should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Chief Justice Strine’s tenure.
His asks in the letters are more general rather than specific dollar amounts, calling on the state to provide more legal support for the poor, fully fund a judicial technology fund, expand the court’s workforce, raise pay for state workers and partner with the private sector to fund new judicial facilities.
The total operating request is for $104.3 million. The judicial branch’s current year operating budget is $100.7 million.