Over the last several years it has been increasingly more difficult to hire Court Reporters to fill vacant positions. Several positions have taken upwards to nine months to fill. Compounding this inability to attract certified Court Reporters is absence of private contract Court Reporters as well. Nueces County's starting salary for Court Reporters is $48,880 while neighboring counties have starting salaries of $65,000 and higher.
The District Courts cannot convene without a certified Court Reporter being present. The Courts believe they will reach a crisis very soon unless salaries for Court Reporters are increased to a more competitive level. Recently one Court could not convene for three days due to not having a Court Reporter.
It is recommended that the starting salary for Court Reporters be increased to $65,249.60 and that the existing Court Reporter salaries also be adjusted. To offset the cost of this increase the District Judges will eliminate two roving Court Reporter positions.
The fiscal impact for the remainder of this fiscal year will be at most $84,000. This will not require any additional appropriation for this year due to salary funding being available from the vacancies during the first six months of the year.