The near shutdown of Florida courts due to the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in massive losses in court revenue which could result in the furlough of personnel, according to Brevard County Clerk of Court Scott Ellis.
“For the last two months there have been rumors the current statewide shortfall ($60 million) or some portion thereof would be covered by the actions of the Governor,” said Ellis.
“Due to this hope of actions by the Governor we have spaced all the necessary actions into two-week increments, each time hoping for revenue from Tallahassee before the next actions. So far nothing.”
If funding from Tallahassee does not materialize, the Clerk of Courts Office will have three layoffs in total and an eight-week furlough in August and September. All furloughed employees will remain covered by insurance for the eight weeks.
The three layoffs will over an expected $1.5 million cut for FY 2020/21.
“The furloughs are to cover the final differences needed to break even for the year,” Ellis added.
The furloughs are timed so that employees will not lose any Florida Retirement System time.
“There remains the chance the Governor or Legislature may move some funds to the Clerks to cover at least a portion of the shortfall. If so then the layoff and furlough plans will change or be lessened,” said Ellis.
“I am sorry the 4th quarter ends like this. We have been the only office in the County to remain open while the others cut and ran. Regardless, we cannot separate our dependence upon the operations of the court and for over three months little has happened to maintain at least a semblance of normality.”