By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Of the Legal Staff
As the First Judicial District continues to merge the operation of the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, the clerk for criminal cases, into its own operation, 92 employees have agreed to leave civil service employment with the city of Philadelphia to become court employees. Thirteen employees have declined to make the transition, said Common Pleas President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe.
The percentage of Quarter Sessions personnel transitioning to FJD employment is 87.6 percent.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter has promised to find other city jobs for the employees who did not agree to become court-employed.
Employees moving into court employment are not taking pay decreases and will be paid the closest salary on the judicial pay scale to their current salary, Dembe said.
The court signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Philadelphia, which allowed the clerk's budget to be used for payroll measures, Dembe said.
Vivian Miller, the last elected head of the office, retired March 31. She made that decision after court orders transferred the functions of the clerk's office from her office to the court's control. The row office still technically exists because City Council has not yet moved to abolish the elected position.
Dembe said the court put together a plan on how to maintain the office's operations if many employees did not stay in the job. Dembe referred questions on how the office would cover the work of the 13 employees to Prothonotary Joseph Evers, who also is running the Clerk of Quarter Sessions operation. Evers did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
A program to collect outstanding bail owed by absconding defendants also was started this week. Dembe said the program only became possible with a change of administration at the clerk's office because previously there was not complete record-keeping of how much alleged absconders owed in forfeited bail.