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Greg Johnson has a pretty good job — and even better benefits.
The Dauphin County magisterial district judge and his colleagues across the state earn $93,338 a year, with the possibility of a pension and lifetime health care, funded largely by taxpayers.
So, it might come as a surprise that 2019 court data revealed he sometimes had proceedings just two days a week. That also allowed him to tend to his family business — a nursery and landscaping company north of Harrisburg.
In Delaware County, Judge Robert Radano had a nice setup, too.
Setting aside weekends, holidays, and a week of training, Radano had the equivalent of five months without court appearances. He also worked a second job, as a practicing attorney.
And in Allegheny County, Judge Anthony Saveikis had 96 days without any proceedings. He listed three other jobs on his financial disclosure form: lawyer, energy company owner, and real estate partner.
Across Pennsylvania, 512 elected district judges are the gatekeepers of the court system and the most likely to interact with residents. They preside over traffic cases, set bail amounts in criminal cases, and rule on civil disputes, such as home evictions.
But a yearlong investigation and data analysis by PennLive and Spotlight PA found huge variations in how many days each had court proceedings.
The news organizations analyzed the schedules of 466 district judges for 2019, after eliminating judges in Luzerne County and Pittsburgh for whom reliable data could not be obtained, as well as 23 offices that were vacant some portion of the year.
Ten percent of district judges had at least 60 days without court appearances, above and beyond holidays, weekends, and training days.
The average full-time American worker had 19 days of paid vacation and sick time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.