Recently market research firms including Gartner and InfoTrends have released reports telling companies that they can save money on their printing costs by reducing the number of persons per printer. But at the General Sessions Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, resident Judges have taken this policy to its logical extreme. By banning local lawyers from the corridor outside their offices, they have restricted access to their copier machine and saved 50% on their printing costs. Whereas, according to a Judge Bales, the ‘copier was breaking down once every six weeks’ before the restrictions were put in place, now the copier ‘has not broken down in more than a year.’ Businesses may learn a lot from this approach: simply refusing to let persons use their printer is a great way to keep them pristine.
This policy of the Chattanooga City Court was put in place at the climax of a ‘persistent erosion of collegiality’ between attorneys and Judges. This concerns alleged abuses of the General Sessions Court facilities on the part of visiting attorneys. Speaking to Chattanoogan.com, Judge Moon spoke of ‘major fiscal concerns’ not only regarding the copier but the City Court kitchen. ‘We have five judges and three staff members in our General Sessions Court. Only three of the eight drink coffee and yet we have previously had the highest coffee expense in Hamilton County for any office our size. Our annual coffee bill was approximately $2,600 annually for only three people,’ he said. By restricting access to the kitchen the Judges have reduced the coffee bill to $500 for themselves and the taxpayer.
A group of 30 attorneys have sent a letter to the City Court judges, calling the restriction to their access to the corridor ‘an insult.’ They object to the new policy not only because the court corridor was used for legitimate business, but because they were not consulted before the new policy was put into place. The attorneys said that business in the Court ‘is dependent upon quick access to all the parties concerned, including law enforcement officers, victims, witnesses and multiple attorneys.’ Yet they may have to learn to live with the changes; the judges have no plans to reverse their decision after reviewing reduced costs of maintenance for their copier and a smaller bill for paper