Judicial districts in Colorado have been on an economic-related hiring freeze since October, and that will soon leave a half dozen court assistant positions vacant in Southwest Colorado.
Eric Hogue, administrator for the 22nd and 6th Judicial Districts, said three jobs in La Plata County Court have not been retained because of the hiring freeze.
A fully staffed office of 13 clerks and assistants at 22nd Judicial District Court in Cortez will be reduced to 10 starting May 1, he said.
The losses are through attrition and are not being filled because of a reduction in the state budget.
"Typically, I would fill these positions," Hogue said. "They would still be there if people didn't leave to do other things. We're holding these positions vacant because of the hiring freeze."
The Cortez judicial district office is already down two court judicial assistants, and a third is planning to leave after April 30, Hogue said.
Cuts have reduced about $74,000 from the 22nd Judicial District's personnel service budget from Oct. 3, 2008, through February, Hogue said.
There is no set time on how long the state's judicial hiring freeze will last. Hogue said the decision is up to Gov. Bill Ritter and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey.
Hogue estimated the freeze could last through June 30, 2010, the end of Colorado's 2009-10 fiscal year.
Overall, the state has saved about $6 million by not filling 188 positions of judicial workers who have left since October, said John Sarche, spokesman for the Colorado State Judicial Branch. Sarche said the annual budget for the state judicial branch is about $350 million.
Colorado's executive branch also began a hiring freeze last fall.