Operating Procedures

Budget and Management

  1. Budget and Management
  1. Policies and Procedures:

    The Chief Justice shall establish policies and procedures related to budget and management of the Judicial Branch. The policy prepared by the State of Delaware's Office of Management and Budget entitled Budget and Accounting Policy shall serve as a general reference in the establishment of the Judicial Branch's internal budget and fiscal policies and procedures. In general, the Judicial Branch will endeavor to be consistent with the policies of the Office of Management and Budget but reserves the right to develop specific Branch policies to address particular issues when that is advisable for the Judicial Branch.
  2. Budget:

    1. Annual Budget Process:
      1. The Courts and Judicial Agencies shall submit their budget requests to the Administrative Office of the Courts, which shall compile the information and prepare a proposed budget for the Chief Justice's review.
      2. The Chief Justice may consult with the Committee of Presiding Judges and the Administrative Office of the Courts, and may seek input from Council of Court Administrators and others, before determining the budget requests to be submitted by the Judicial Branch to the Executive and Legislative Branches of government.
      3. Under the direction of the Chief Justice, the Administrative Office of the Courts will take the lead in ensuring that the Budget complies with the fiscal requirements and deadlines established by the Executive and Legislative Branches for the efficient management of the State of Delaware's overall budget and financial management, where appropriate.
    2. Request for New Judicial Officer Positions: The Chief Justice shall determine, based upon what is in the best interest of the Judiciary as a whole, whether a request to create new Judicial Officer positions should be made to the Governor and the General Assembly through the budget process. Presiding Judges who wish to request new Judicial Officers for their Court shall follow the policies and procedures as specified in the Policy and Procedure for Determining Need for Additional Judgeships and Other Judicial Officer Positions, attached as Appendix A. The request shall be submitted to the Chief Justice by August 1 of the year before the fiscal year in which a Presiding Judge intends to request additional positions, or another date established by the Chief Justice.The Chief Justice may seek additional information concerning the need for judicial resources from the Presiding Judge requesting the judicial resources.
    3. Hiring Procedures in Times of Economic Hardship: In times of economic hardship, it is likely that special factors will control hiring procedures. The Chief Justice may impose a special hiring review process, which may include a measure requiring the approval of the Chief Justice before Judicial Branch positions, such as new hires, promotions, paid interns, casual/seasonal, temporary, limited-term, merit and exempt positions, may be filled.The Chief Justice may exempt certain types of positions (for example, career ladder promotions and security positions) from this process, as noted in the Judicial Branch Hiring Review Policy, attached as Appendix A1.
      1. The special hiring review process may, among other things, require that:
        1. The Presiding Judge or head of the Judicial Agency seeking to fill the position certify that:
          1. the position is necessary to perform the core operations of the Court or Judicial Agency, or the direct delivery of services to the public, including case processing;
          2. the position provides other valuable operational support that will have a significant longer-term impact on overall operations, if the position is not filled; and
          3. appropriate funds are believed to be available in the respective Court or Judicial Agency budget to compensate the person to be hired.
        2. The Presiding Judge or head of a Judicial Agency will provide to the State Court Administrator, no later than the first day of each month, a current listing of vacant positions, along with a form providing justification for each position that they are requesting to be filled that month.Requests to address urgent or emergency needs to fill positions may be submitted during other times of the month.
  3. Fiscal Procedures:

    1. Non-Appropriated Funds: The Courts shall adhere to the Judicial Branch Fiscal Policies and Procedures, attached as Appendix B, that govern the management of non-appropriated funds as supported by the current case management system and as revised from time to time by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
    2. Pro Hac Vice Assessments: Pro hac vice assessments shall be distributed to fund the Arms of the Supreme Court or as otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court for the purpose of the governance of the Bar or the administration of justice.
  4. Grant Funding:

    Grant opportunities shall be evaluated within the framework of the Judicial Branch's long-term goals and priorities, and incorporated into the overall budget process. The Judicial Branch shall generally apply for grant funding for limited term, one-time items. The monetary amount of grant funding being sought by the Judicial Branch should generally exceed $100,000 over the term of the grant to support efficiencies in resource costs associated with managing the grant. But grant funds of lesser amounts may be sought if the purpose of applying for the grants is limited in scope and focused on a particular topic or area. Grant funding should not be sought to fund items that will require additional operating budget funds or positions to continue operations, once the grant funding runs out. The Chief Justice, in concert with the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Court or Judicial Agency applying for a grant, shall determine the manner in which the application will be submitted to ensure that relevant partners have been included in the grant application process. The Chief Justice may order the withdrawal of any grant application at any time if the Chief Justice determines that the application is not in the best interests of the Judiciary.
    1. Application Process: A Court or Judicial Agency applying for State or Federal grant funds shall, at least thirty (30) days before filing the State or Federal grant application, submit to the State Court Administrator a Judicial Branch Grant Request Form, attached as Appendix C, with a copy of the State or Federal grant application.
    2. Review of Application: The State Court Administrator shall review the Judicial Branch Grant Request Form and make a recommendation to the Chief Justice as to whether the State or Federal grant application should be approved for submission based on the merits of the application, including the grant request's consistency with the goals of the Judicial Branch, and any potential impact on:
      1. current Judiciary resources and workload;
      2. future Court budgets; and
      3. future position requests that might be associated with the acceptance of funds from sources outside of the annual State budget process.
    3. Expedited Procedure: Recognizing that in limited instances there are exigent circumstances in which grant applications must be submitted with limited time for internal review, a Court or Judicial Agency may submit a grant application request to the State Court Administrator less than 30 days before the grant application deadline. But, under those circumstances, it may not be possible for the internal review process to occur within the allotted time frame and the grant application may not be filed without the Chief Justice's advance approval to file the application.
    4. Copies of Filings: Copies of all State or Federal grant applications filed by Courts or Judicial Agencies must be provided to the State Court Administrator.
    5. Grant Award Notification: Any Court or Judicial Agency that applies for a State or Federal grant should notify the State Court Administrator as to whether it has received notice of a grant award no later than ten (10) working days from the date of the Court or Judicial Agency's receipt of the grant award notification.

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