How does our trial court submit its judges' salary certification for court funding under E2SSB 5454?

The Annual Salary Certification will be used to distribute available funding to district and qualifying municipal courts.  All qualifying courts must submit the certification before a quarterly distribution will be made.  Certification can be done either online or by submitting a manual form.

Online:  Submit the salary certification electronically from the "Electronic Salary Certification" link on the Trial Court Improvement Account Funding page of Inside Courts.  The Salary Certification link will only be accessable if you are a Judge.  Please refer to the attached document "5454 Instructions for On-line Annual Certification.pdf."

Manual:   OR you can print out a hard copy of the "Blank Annual Salary Verification Form.pdf" attached at the bottom of this screen and submit the form manually.

Related Documents
Attached at the bottom of this answer are the following documents:

  • 5454 Instructions for On-line Annual Certification
  • 5454 Blank Annual Salary Verification Form (OR use the link on the Inside Courts page to submit electronically)
  • 5454 Frequently Asked Questions
  • 5454 Final Distribution for Quarter Ending 12/31/05
  • 5454 Implementation Summary
  • 5454 Final Bill Summary
  • 5454 Salary Certification Calendar

Background Information
In 2005, the Washington State Legislature provided $2.4 million as the states contribution toward the cost of district and qualifying municipal courts judges salaries.  The Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) began quarterly distribution of these funds in October 2005.

The Court Funding Task Force was established to focus exclusively on the issue of trial court funding for both the amount necessary to adequately fund the trial courts and the structure of funding necessary to ensure long-term funding stability so the trial courts can reliably provide equal justice across the state in a timely manner.

The Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) enlisted the efforts of a broad-based group of stakeholders to serve on the Task Force including state legislators, county commissioners and council members, the public, business, labor, county clerks, court administrators, the Washington State Bar Association, and the judiciary. Over a two-year period, these representatives contributed their time, talent, and experience to an exhaustive study of trial court funding needs and the development of recommended solutions to address those needs.

This Task Forces work was conducted through five Work Groups to define the problem, study funding alternatives, examine the structure and function of the courts of limited jurisdiction, promote public education about trial court funding, and implement the recommendations of the Task Force.

Although the original legislative submittal was not enacted, the state legislature did agree that the state does have an obligation to contribute additional monies to the cost of trial courts.  On April 24, 2005 the legislature passed E2SSB 5454.  The bill provided for new fees and increases to existing fees as well as providing funding for criminal indigent defense, parental representation in dependency and termination matters, civil legal aid, and contributions to district and elected municipal court judges salaries.

Distribution of Funds
As noted above, $2.4 million has been appropriated for the biennium ending June 30, 2007.  The AOC has developed a number of forms (attached at the bottom of this answer) to facilitate distribution of the amount appropriated as well as to comply with procedural components of the legislation.

  • District Courts are required to certify judges' salaries and the number of judges' FTEs on a quarterly basis.
  • Municipal Courts must first certify that their judges are paid at a minimum rate equal to 95% of a district court judge's salary and that the judicial position is an elected position.  Upon completion of the minimum salary and elected position certifications, municipal courts would then follow the quarterly certification process.

If you have any questions or comments please contact:

Chris Stanley, Director
Management Services Division
Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts
(360) 357-2406

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