Some criticize $177k salary for Phoenix chief judge

November 6, 2014
CBS 5
Lindsey Reiser

PHOENIX (CBS5) - The Phoenix City Council just voted to approve a $177,200 salary for the acting chief presiding judge over the municipal court.

"It's too much," said councilman Sal DiCiccio.

He said the head judge over the municipal court, which handles traffic violations and misdemeanor crimes, should not have started at the same salary that the former chief retired at, though city council just approved it.

The current acting chief judge will hold that position until a new chief is formerly chosen. That salary will also start at $177,200.

"The judge for the city of Phoenix is making more than the supreme court justice for the state of Arizona, more than the governor, more than the attorney general," DiCiccio said.

The chief is also making more than many other presiding municipal court judges nationwide. Tucson's chief presiding judge makes $133,00 a year. Houston's chief brings in $170.000. New York City's makes $160,000 - and both Houston and New York City have higher costs of living.

Mayor Greg Stanton's chief of staff couldn't meet with us because of the timing of our request, but said our pay is competitive, and that the judge in Phoenix manages 300 employees in one of the busiest municipal courts in the country.

It's an argument that doesn't change DiCiccio's mind.

"We don't object to the individual, we don't object to the position, we had a real problem with the pay, especially when the city of Phoenix is going to be facing another budget crisis this year," DiCiccio said.

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