17th Circuit Court files administrative order against Winnebago - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

17th Circuit Court files administrative order against Winnebago County

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

In the latest move to call for funding for the 17th Circuit Court, Chief Judge Joe McGraw files an administrative order for Winnebago County.

In the 9-page administrative order, Chief Judge McGraw outlines the background of back-and-forth between the Winnebago County leaders and the circuit court. That includes the lawsuit Judge McGraw filed against the county back in August and the letter addressed to Chairman Haney on the eve of the budget vote. 

Now the circuit court's Administrative Order 2017-30 orders Winnebago County to:

  • "Continue to pay the salaries of all Circuit Court, Probation and Detention staff positions which were funded under the FY2017 budget, as amended,"
  • "Pay the salaries of all Public Defender staff positions which were funded under the FY2017 budget, as amended,"
  • "And to refrain from any budgetary "take-back" which is designed to, or has the effect of, negating any of the foregoing."

"What we're really fighting about here is we have less revenue," says Chairman Frank Haney.  "We collect $8 million dollar less revenue than in 2008. That's tough, but we have to live within our means."

Haney says he doesn't agree that McGraw's budget isn't enough for the courts to run properly.

"I reject the premise of his statement.  We are all operating with the dollars we actually we have. We can not print money like the federal government. Now that the judge is projecting forward into the future I see a legal discussion in the court room.  We cannot forfeit our county board's right to set the budget."

Back in September, Chairman Haney told 13 WREX Judge McGraw is taking "cheap shots" and "bullying his staff," when asked for comment about the letter Haney received on the eve of the budget vote.

The Winnebago County Board passed the budget on Sept. 28, with $6.9 million cuts to the circuit court and other department, including the sheriff's office. In a last-minute amendment, board members agreed to slash only $150,000 from the public defender's office budget, not the original $250,000, allowing it to keep $100,000. Chairman Haney criticized Judge McGraw on the eve of the budget vote, saying he's refusing to acknowledge a county-wide budget problem and that his staff, "knows his [McGraw's] own budget better than he does."

The administrative order states if the orders are not followed, the 17th Circuit Court will take further legal action.

 

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