Wes Nakagiri

Livingston County Commissioner, District 3

Lady JusticeDuring the June 24th meeting of the full Board of Commissioners, I presented my findings on Livingston County Court resources. Below is a short summary of my report. Click here to view the full report. (Note: you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report).

One of the primary duties of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners is to provide oversight of the county budget. The overall budget planning process for 2020 has recently commenced. Though the process has just started, there are indications that revenues and expenditures for the Court's portion of the budget would not be in balance. This out-of-balance situation could potentially cause a decrease in county services as funds from elsewhere are shifted to the courts.

Rather than just accept a decrease in other services I decided to thoroughly examine court funding and court resources to answer the question, "Are Livingston County court resources optimally balanced with court workload/caseload?" The key findings of my investigation are summarized below.

  • In 2011 the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Michigan State Court Administrative Offices (SCAO) conducted a workload assessment of courts in Michigan. They found that Livingston County Courts were overstaffed by 6.3 quasi-judicial associates. In fact, Livingston County Courts were the second most overstaffed of all courts in Michigan.
    • See the full report for the definition of quasi-judicial associates.
  • An analysis of caseload data from SCAO showed that from 2010 through 2018 the caseload of Livingston County Courts has declined by over 35%
  • An analysis of staffing data from Livingston County showed that court staffing has increased from 2010 through 2018.
    • This analysis indicates there is now a surplus of 9.5 quasi-judicial associates.
  • A comparison of court budgets and caseloads for Livingston County and Monroe County was conducted. This comparison showed that the cost per court case for Livingston County ($297.62/case) is nearly twice that of Monroe County ($152.98/case).

Further examination of budget and caseload data will proceed as the 2020 budget proceeds. I will continue to keep Livingston County citizens informed about this important topic.