Orange County Superior Court officials say the free health benefits given to local judges are an important recruiting tool. And they’re urging the Orange County Supervisors to not pull the plug on this perk.

Voice of OC reported last week that the supervisors are considering terminating an expensive health care plan offered to local judges, worth about $2 million each year.

Carol Levitzky, the OC courts public information officer, said that Presiding Judge Thomas Boris has been visiting county supervisors to explain why they should keep the perk in place.

“In order to maintain and attract the most qualified, those supplemental benefits should remain,” Levitzky said. “You want to get the best and retain the best judges for this county.”

Counties funded local courts until 1998 when the state court system took over.

Since, the state has paid a Superior Court judge’s $178,789 salary as well as a traditional pension, a 401(k) and a basic health plan. But, said Levitzky, all major urban counties in California provide some sort of supplemental health benefit to judges.

“OC is not at the top,” she said.

Expect that premise to be tested in coming months as the 2011-2012 budget cycle begins.


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