Nevada Co. gets approved for interim cms & JC/AOC continues to rail against accountability

Posted on June 27, 2011

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The approval of an interim case management system? Amazing but true. In the last Judicial Council meeting, the Judicial Council approved around 642K to deploy CourtView locally in the Nevada County courts to replace a legacy mainframe maintained by the county. The only operator of that legacy system will retire at the end of the year. According to the AOC’s analysis, this system will need to work in Nevada County for at least four years as an interim solution to the oft promised but never delivered, much maligned CCMS system.

Even if CCMS was delivered, will small rural courts even want this application at all, given the sticker shock, workflow and increased case processing times that comes along with it?

While a few of us here at JCW were aware of Nevada County’s plight regarding their mainframe guy going away, we also believed that CCMS was not only unsuitable for Nevada County but it was not ready for Nevada County and would not be ready for years without additional recoding and customization. It is expected that support for the CourtView system will cost 65K per year. Compare that to CCMS’s integrated services backbone that costs nearly double that for the communication services alone and we’ve not touched on the AOC’s charges of 10K per year per user of the CCMS system that small, rural counties like Nevada could never afford. We loathe to mention that the integrated services backbone that the CCMS application relies upon are not even available in most rural areas like Nevada County.

Did the boys and girls at the AOC ever factor these costs against deployment of CCMS in rural courts? Only if you consider that they might be charging the larger courts who have the money, more money to subsidize the rural courts that don’t have the resources to buy into CCMS. This is all a part of the “how do you plan to pay for it” argument that the AOC can’t seem to convince anyone about.

The workflow of the CCMS application is customized for medium-to-large courts. As a result, smaller ‘generalist’ clerks in smaller courts that tend to wear multiple hats would have to juggle through multiple windows and follow the workflow designed for larger courts. Of course, since the application was designed this way and no one ever thought to bring small courts like Nevada County into the CCMS workflow fold until a full 9 years after development, a solution to the smaller courts with CCMS is years away and consists of “enhancements” that the smaller rural courts could never afford.

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The persistent, yet expected action had to do with AB314 (Gorell) of subjecting the court construction funds to the states’ fraud, waste, abuse and public corruption laws which the AOC continues to vehemently oppose because those laws are all about accountability – and accountability is one of those things that the judicial branch must not be subjected to.

They must be free to accept construction kickbacks. They must have the freedom to permit bid rigging, bid shopping and bid steering. They must have the freedom of not being bothered by competitive bidding requirements. They must be free to steer work to friends and family. They must not be beholden to WMBE participation, local jobs for local projects, the prohibition of day laborers or the payment of prevailing wages.

What we did find interesting however was that the current (new) language of AB1208 is being brought back to the committee for re-evaluation of the JC/AOC’s position on the bill, which means they opposed the last version without analysis!