It’s been over two years since the SEC report came out, detailing the overreach and the wastefulness of the AOC/Judicial Council staff. The report’s authors concluded that the organization “must refocus on providing service to the courts; that a fundamental restructuring of the organization is needed; that the AOC must be down-sized to correspond with its core functions; and that its internal processes need to be improved.” Our leaders “took ownership” of the report and promised change. Said Justice Douglas Miller of the Executive and Planning Committee, “We are fully committed to this report and our process, and take full responsibility for preserving its integrity.” His remarks are documented here.
So did anything happen?
Not much. Not nearly enough. We’ve now had a day to read the California State Auditor’s detailed review of how the Judicial Council staff handles the money entrusted to it. The Alliance thanks Assembly Member…
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Today, the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters, dean of the state’s political reporters, released a brief video commentary on the State Auditor’s review of Judicial Council/AOC spending. He lays out in direct language that what the Alliance has been saying for years is correct: The bureaucracy is bloated, its employees are overpaid, and the Judicial Council has failed to do its job. For those of you with problematic browsers, a transcript of his remarks follows.
As the Governor releases his budget and members of the Legislature begin the task of making decisions on how judicial dollars should be spent, our message is clear: Without significant and systemic reform, the AOC will continue to siphon off the dollars we desperately need to keep our local courts running. At a minimum, and until the statutory or constitutional changes necessary for real reform can be enacted, we call on our sister branches of government…
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You will recall that the Alliance of California Judges proposed an audit of the Judicial Council, which was requested by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, and which was unanimously approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in the last legislative session over opposition from the Judicial Council. The State Auditor released her report today, and it is available for your review here. We will let you draw your own conclusions about the report, but we offer these highlights from the Executive Summary of the report:
(1) The Judicial Council did not adequately oversee the AOC in managing the judicial branch budget, which allowed the AOC to engage in questionable compensation and business practices. The AOC:
- Provides its staff with generous salaries and benefits—the AOC pays eight of its nine office directors more than the governor and many other high-ranking executive branch officials receive.
- Employs over 70 contractors and temporary employees…
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