I am Steve Urie - the current JP for the Highland Justice Court. Prior to my election to the office of JP in 2013, I was a State Representative (R) for Legislative District 22. I also served on the Gilbert Town Council for 11 years. I have been a self-employed, small businessman since 1985 and a Gilbert resident since 1984. I am a fiscal conservative and a lifelong Republican.
In my second year as JP, I restructured the court calendar. This restructuring reduced the need for pro-tem judges (paid substitute judges) when I was away from the bench in such activities as continuing education, judicial committees, judicial conferences and personal time.
During the time that I have been JP, I have returned in excess of 800 hours of unused pro-tem and personal hours to the county resulting in cost savings to the county in excess of $40,000.
A second benefit of the restructuring of the court's calendar was the introduction of employee "Flex Time." By changing the court's calendar, it allowed the court employees to select a work schedule that was most conducive to their life style.
The end result was a reduction in the amount of employee absenteeism and personal time off while increasing employee productivity and morale.
The year before I became the JP for the Highland Justice Court, the court had a 25% turn-over in personnel. This year, my fourth year in office, employee turn-over was reduced by 15%, down to 10%.
In my first year as JP, the court incurred office supplies and materials expense in excess of $19,000. In my fourth year as JP, the office supplies and materials expense has been reduced to $2,800, a cost savings to the county and the citizen of Maricopa County of 85%.
In 2013-14, my first year as JP, I observed that the county automatically issued 24 jury summons throughout the year but the court only held 5 jury trials. Consequently, 19 groups of citizens or between 570 and 950 citizens were called for jury duty but never served. I thought that this was a great inconvenience to our citizens and a waste of county resources.
Consequently, in 2014-2015, I reduced the number of automatic jury summons to 12. However, the court held only 2 jury trials. Again, a great inconvenience to 300 to 500 of our citizens and a waste of county resources.
As a result, in 2015-2016, I reduced the jury summons to an "as-needed" basis. The court has held one jury trial and none are scheduled before the end of the fiscal calendar.
The reduction in jury summons from 24 a year to an "as needed" basis represents a 95% reduction in jury summons, disruption in the lives of our citizens, and a cost savings of thousands of dollars to county while still providing a fair, impartial and timely justice for all involved.
As an Arizona State Representative, I voted for reforms in taxes, regulations, civil justice, and education. In the first session, I voted for a structurally balanced budget that created a surplus in the second session budget. These legislative actions and regulatory reforms moved Arizona from the least desirable western state to conduct business, to the third most desirable western state. And, in 2014, when the reforms in taxes, regulations, civil justice, and education are fully implemented, Arizona will be the most business friendly location of the eleven western states.
As a Gilbert Town Councilman, I voted for eleven (11) balanced budgets with no deficits, no gimmicks, no borrowing, no smoke, no mirrors. The Town had the lowest number of employees per capita of any municipality in Maricopa County. It had the lowest sales tax rate in the county. The Town does not have a primary property tax. It has no use tax. Municipal funds were budgeted to create a surplus, increase the "rainy day" account, and improve the Town's municipal bond rating. I voted twice in 2001 and 2002, to reduce property taxes.
I voted to save tax payer dollars by partnering with other municipalities and school districts on a waste water treatment facility, a water treatment facility, a joint use facility for school buses and town vehicles, and a library. I voted to save tax payer dollars by partnering with non-profit sports organizations to provide recreational sports. I voted to save tax payer's dollars by partnering with the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Maricopa County Flood Control to turn retention basins into award winning parks.