AOC Director under fire takes a CEO job in San Bernardino

Posted on June 15, 2011

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AOC Finance Director Stephen Nash has been selected to be CEO of the San Bernardino Courts. Normally, we wouldn’t have any qualms about people moving around the court system. In this case, we have to ask San Bernardino one question:

What the hell were you thinking?

So that San Bernardino can get familiar with their new CEO-to-be, let’s discuss Mr. Stephen Nash and his role at the AOC. Mr. Nash’s finance department oversees all vendor contracts. It was Mr. Nash’s department who issued multi-million dollar contracts to the unlicensed contractors. It was Mr. Nash’s department that added over a hundred contract amendments to the CCMS contract without blinking an eye. Mr. John Judnick and the “branch cleaners” in Internal Audits work for Mr. Nash. It was Mr. Nash’s group that negotiated the terms with the California Courts Technology Center. It was Mr. Nash that has advocated taking trial court trust funds for CCMS. It is Mr. Nash who created the elaborate financial house of cards upon which the AOC exists. And finally, it is Mr. Nash that can capably walk around a judges question for twenty minutes without actually answering it. When it comes to AOC financial and fiscal impropriety, Mr. Nash is the judicial branch poster child.

It is for all of the above reasons that Mr. Nash is one of the few people on JCW’s “indictables” list and is one of the people whose professional life is in digital purgatory. How San Bernardino court leadership managed to come to the conclusion that Mr. Nash is the best man for the job is anyone’s guess, unless you need a financial magician to make bad things go away.

So why did San Bernardino hire him? Follow the money. San Bernardino is slated to get one of the largest, most expensive courthouses in the state. San Bernardino didn’t hire Mr. Nash for his court clerk skills as he has never run a court. So exactly why did San Bernardino hire Mr. Nash? To curry favor with those in San Francisco. Mr. Nash will be one of the new court executives who runs his own show as opposed to reporting to managing judges.  It is because Mr. Nash will remain in the judicial branch that he will also remain in digital purgatory.

The people of San Bernardino can be proud of their new hire: A gentleman leaving San Francisco under a cloud of mismanagement and corruption entirely of his own making. Why anyone in the judicial branch would offer him a promotion or even a job underscores growing cynicism regarding the Judicial branch. Where any other government agency would have run him out of office (and rightfully so) San Bernardino turns out to be Stephen Nash’s platinum parachute from the AOC. 

More from Maria Dinzeo of Courthouse News – AOC Finance Director moves to desert.