A new Gwinnett Superior Court position is coming in January, and District Attorney Danny Porter told a budget review committee on Monday that he’ll need additional staff to accommodate the new seat on the bench.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation creating an 11th seat on the county’s Superior Court bench into law earlier this year. That act gave the county nearly year to prepare, but as county departments began making their 2020 budget requests this week, Porter said his office needs to look at staffing to get ready for the new judge.
“We are victims of forces that are beyond our control,” Porter said. “In last year’s legislature, the legislature approved an 11th Superior Court judge for Gwinnett County. You would think that that would just be the judge, but in fact you’ll hear as this budget committee goes on, not only from me, but almost every other affected department, that an 11th judge requires a support staff ...
“We have decision packages that we call contingent, but that one is no longer contingent. We have the judge coming Jan. 1 and we’ll need the support (staff).”
In all, Porter is asking for nearly $1.69 million in requests for new positions and equipment — requests that are also known as “decision packages” in the business plan presentation process taking place this week. The district attorney is seeking a total proposed 2020 general budget of $19 million for his office.
An additional superior court judge is not the only judicial position Porter is trying to prepare for. Another one of his decision packages is for staff to handle cases in the courtroom of a fourth juvenile court judge — but Porter said that is contingent upon a fourth judge being appointed.
Other budget requests that Porter is making including funding for a pre-sentence investigator for juvenile offenders, and an expansion of the number of assistant district attorneys to handle appellate cases.