Representatives of local courts from across the state have issued a self-assessment of the centralized Administrative Office of the Courts. That report includes more than 100 recommendations as part of the scathing review.
Among some of the issues that the Strategic Evaluation Committee cites in its report is the size and scope of the bureaucracy, how the AOC has shifted from its original mission, and the alleged fudging of budget numbers. Placer County Superior Court Judge Charles Wachob, said that “(The AOC) drifted from its essential function of supporting or assisting the courts if the courts request assistance.”
The budget and staffing numbers being released by the AOC were called into question. In February, the AOC said that its staffing levels had dropped to more than 750. However, the committee found there were more than 1,000 employees when long-term temp workers and contract workers were accounted for. That would make it an all-time high for the AOC. Meanwhile, courts have been facing year-after-year cuts.
To address some of the rampant bureaucracy, the committee recommended reducing the staffing at the top levels, and bringing the total number of authorized positions down to as little as 680 employees.
In a blistering indictment of the state’s judicial administration, a long-awaited report released Friday night concluded that the Administrative Office of the Courts is over-staffed, dysfunctional and less than forthcoming about sensitive issues.
The Strategic Evaluation Committee, comprised almost entirely of judges, said the AOC has “lost its focus” on serving the trial courts and assumed a more dominant, controlling role in its relationship with California’s 58 superior courts. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye created the committee in March 2011 in response to concerns the AOC had grown too large despite an era of lean budgets.
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