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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 19, 2020 09:26 AM
From: Representative David R. Millard and Rep. Kurt A. Masser
To: All House members
Subject: Adding a Common Pleas Judge to the 26th Judicial District for Columbia and Montour Counties
We ask your support to add a third Common Pleas judge to the 26th Judicial District for Columbia and Montour counties combined. We are convinced that adding a judge to this judicial district is not only warranted by the work load upon the local judiciary, but also would result in cost savings and increased efficiency.

Historically, the 26th Judicial District has relied upon two judges with a heavy dose of assistance from senior judges and masters. According to the Supreme Court’s Needs Assessment completed in 2017, this staffing has allowed the 26th Judicial District to discharge its duties despite a determination that it needed four full-time judges. Indeed, the utilization rate (a metric showing the amount of full-time judge work completed by each member of the current complement) ranked the two judges of the 26th Judicial District among the highest in the state. Each judge was assessed as completing the work of 1.78 judges. For sake of comparison, several other counties with comparable populations - such as Carbon, Northumberland and Lawrence Counties – all have three judges already.

With a shrinking population of senior judges available to assist, the time has come to add a third judge to the 26th Judicial District. Moreover, adding this judge will diminish the need for senior judge assistance and allow the 26th Judicial District to eliminate most masters – each change resulting in cost savings to the counties. The counties are prepared to accommodate the third judge within current space.

The County Commissioners of both Columbia and Montour Counties have requested this change. We ask for your support and co-sponsorship toward enhancing the delivery of judicial service in our counties.

Introduced as HB2432