A presiding Missouri circuit court judge has ordered Kansas City’s Municipal Court judges to work longer hours. He also asked state lawmakers to give him control over city court operations.
Judge Jay Daugherty said he was taking the unusual action “not only to improve their (the Municipal Court’s) efficiency, but also to restore public faith in the judicial branch of government.” Daugherty called Municipal Court a “continuing distraction” that has frustrated his court and its employees and sparked complaints from judicial branches across Missouri.
“It’s gotten to the point that this court feels compelled to assert control over the Municipal Court, the way every other circuit court has over municipal courts,” Daugherty told the Kansas City Star.
A Star investigation last year showed that eight of the nine full-time judges averaged just 25 to 32 hours a week in the courthouse. They regularly took Friday afternoons off. Citing the short hours, the Kansas City Council voted last month to reduce the number of full-time judges from nine to eight beginning in May, saving an estimated $250,000.