Themis’ rumor mill

Posted on November 16, 2010

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It will likely come as no surprise that a little more than a week ago the judicial council approved 50 million dollars in facilities mods for the current fiscal year. What most would be surprised to learn is that the AOC has allegedly renewed the contracts of the previously unlicensed contractors that have been doing these facility mods for yet another year, under the same terms and conditions they enjoyed before.  (Fat markups for coming in under inflated cost estimates)

One time , one could explain it away as simple ignorance.

Two times, the second in the face of a lawsuit against their own vendors, one has to question the competency of AOC management.

Third time is a charm and spells out P-U-B-L-I-C   C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N in 12 foot high letters.

Didn’t we hear the AOC tell the Assembly committee on Accountability & Administrative review that these contracts would be put out to bid again in the fall?

It wasn’t announced on the AOC’s website. It wasn’t announced in any of the public contract venues. It wasn’t announced at all! They simply extended the same terms and conditions under the old contracts to the new ones.

Trial Courts: – I would interpret this as the AOC being flush with money. Given last JC meeting approved 50 mil in facility mods and we know that at 1/3 of that 50 million goes up in smoke towards management fees and performance based compensations charges that are on top of direct management charges, it stands to reason that about 15 million dollars will vaporize faster than a rock of crack cocaine.

Other errata:- There’s a change in the laws that will make OCCM flush with cash starting Jaunary 1. Up until recently, police departments had the discretion to write you a ticket for a moving violation (money goes to the state, includes an average of $70.00 worth of court construction assessment, you get dinged a point on your driving record and you pay through the nose on insurance for the next 3 years) or they could write you a citation for a municipal code violation: An Administrative citation and not an infraction (money goes to the local municipality, includes no fee for court construction, no point on your driving record and lower insurance costs)

Last year the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department wrote some 28,800 of these municipal code citations, saving taxpayers nearly 5 million dollars in state-bound penalties and another 5 million dollars in increased insurance premiums. With respect to the Alameda County Sheriff’s department alone, this change in the law that prohibits the writing of a municipal code citation when a vehicle code citation will do will net AOC’s office of court construction & management another 2 million dollars.

East Contra County Court:- Delivered 2 months late and 14 million over budget. And this was arguably the AOC’s best architect managing this project. What went wrong?  Themis tells us it was due to a systems integration problem. And who does the AOC’s IP systems integration for trial court construction? Themis tells us it was the sole responsibility of Michael Paul, whom they fired weeks before the integration was to start and the AOC has not replaced him. It seems it may be a little difficult finding someone with a background in computer engineering, building construction technology, security and video. Then again, Themis tells us they’ve not filled the position because even the AOC looks at it as a wrongful termination. 14 million seems like a lot of cash to flush down the drain due to the lack of one employee. Everyone, even Mr. Paul is expendable and can be replaced. If it’s true that 14 million dollars was lost on one project as a result of his termination, perhaps the AOC shouldn’t have placed all of its eggs in Mr. Paul’s basket in the first place.    

There are some new filings in the Paul vs. the AOC case up for review and it seems that a hearing on the AOC’s demurrer tomorrow @ the McAllister courthouse across the street. Word has it that the AOC’s MoFo attorney (surely someone in power over at MoFo understood and/or was educated regarding the urban connotation of their abbreviated name…) Arturo Gonzalez has produced a copy of the policies and procedures adopted by the Judicial Council. The problem is, they were never created in cooperation with the Department of Finance who never signed off on them as the law required. We’ll report next on the outcome of the AOC’s flawed demurrer, whose reply in support of the demurrer emphatically denies the existence of “Team Jacobs”

Themis didn’t mention the department of finance auditors pouring through the AOC’s records and asking tough questions and not getting a whole lot of cohesive answers. It seems they’ve been parked in AOC offices for awhile now. Maybe someone actually cares about how the AOC wastes taxpayer funds.