SEC – an endless summer of comments

Posted on July 27, 2012

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AOC  under-reporting of special funds account balances

Before we get to the meat and potatoes of this mornings post: Remember the recent scandal where State Parks were pleading poor and unable to keep state parks open? The parks director resigned and her deputy was fired when the department of finance found that state parks had under-reported, by 54 million dollars the balance of a special funds account that could have kept state parks open statewide.

Well guess what? Apparently, the Department of finance is supposed to check the account balances of what is being reported to them against what is on deposit with the state controllers office. They have dropped the ball on this for years. This apparently has been going on for a really long time with some agencies. A recent look into special accounts as a result of that scandal has uncovered 2.3 billion dollars in under-reported special funds accounts hiding in plain sight. Okay, so there is 2.3 billon dollars in special funds accounts. So what? Well for one thing – if those accounts are not emptied to pay for existing state operations, the governors tax increase has no chance of passing in November. Flat zero.

Included in that total is 26.8* million dollars under-reported to the department of finance by the Administrative Office of the Courts. We’re gathering that one of our favorite poster boys and an esteemed member of the exclusive digital purgatory club, possibly soon to be announced future executive director of the AOC was the individual who started this under-reporting to DOF. We’re also gathering that it continues under the tutelage of the new AOC finance director. While our courts crumble, the AOC has been stashing away mad money to support their largesse.

Should the AOC finance director be canned for this under-reporting? You betcha. Will he be canned for this under-reporting? No, more likely he will be rewarded with a 30% raise because that is the way the AOC does business. They generously reward the incompetent and drum out competency. It is the AOC way.

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AOC censorship of their misdeeds

Yesterday after complaining that we had verified that timely SEC comments had been rejected for one reason or another, two comments that we had firsthand knowledge of being submitted were posted. We knew that Attorney Barbara Kaufmann and journalist Alan Phillips (Note that this is a link to a related CNN story) had submitted SEC comments in a timely manner and they weren’t posted.

When they were posted, they were posted with the name “Jack Halpin” redacted from them. You remember Jack. He is the individual who has been assigned in-perpetuity to the Shasta bench for over 19 years by the AOC allegedly retired from AOC in-perpetuity bench appointments in Shasta County, yet continues his in-perpetuity assignment to the Shasta bench after a short vacation. These were two comments we knew about.

What blindsided us was a well researched comment by one Mr. DeWitt Barker. It appears Mr. Barker did not know as much as one of our posters found out about the censored name in his letter. Michael Fraga has worked  as a trainer for the AOC’s CFCC Program and is on the Sonoma County Bar Association’s “Court Involved Therapist Referral List”. Now that wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for this little missive courtesy of the Department of Industrial Relations – the workers comp agency of the State of California. A quick review of the judgement handed down by an administrative law judge at the department of industrial relations has deemed Michael Fraga unfit for performing qualified medical exams of injured ADULT workers. Yet he is considered qualified by the AOC  to offer his opinion to the California courts in making life-altering recommendations for families and children. If he is unfit to work in one arena of state government, he should be unfit to work in another arena of state government and we understand that someone actually is looking up a law they believe that supports this conclusion.

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Today’s Judicial Council Muppet Show 


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Later this afternoon around 6=7PM we intend to post a transcript of the judicial council meeting courtesy of WearyAnt. Of interest: It appears that the AOC used WearyAnt’s last transcription copied off this site for their last judicial council meeting, which speaks volumes to the credibility of this site.

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July 26, 2012

Dear Members and others,As you know the Judicial Council is subjecting the recommended reforms embodied in the SEC report to a “rolling comment” period. The purported deadline to submit comments last Sunday was, as it turns out, a mere suggestion. For those of who you have not yet submitted a comment, please do so immediately and encourage your colleagues to do so as well by simply emailing your comment to

 

We are hopeful that this “rolling comment” period will not violate the Rule against Perpetuities— 21 years plus a life in being— but we have our doubts.Attached to this email (link) is a summary of those comments posted as of 7/24.  You will see that over 90% of judges responding support full and immediate implementation of the SEC recommendations. The sheer volume of responses is overwhelming and we encourage you to take the time to read the comments by clicking on this link.

Finally, we wish to bring to your attention a troubling trend that we have noticed since the Sunday deadline. It would appear that some type of campaign is afoot as organizations not normally involved in the judicial branch are starting to weigh in, for example, the League of Women Voters has submitted a comment. We will, of course, continue to monitor the public comments and update our analysis.
Finally, we include an article relating to a lawsuit involving the AOC.  We do so without comment and caution all bench officers to refrain from making any public comment whatsoever relative to the case as it obviously is pending litigation.
Directors, Alliance of California Judges
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Standing Issue Won’t Cut Kelso Pension Suit Down
By MARIA DINZEO of Courthouse News (JCW – Welcome back Maria, you were missed by many)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A retired California employee can advance claims that California Prison Receiver J. Clark Kelso spiked his pension by washing his salary through the Administrative Office of the Courts, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson appointed Kelso to oversee California’s s prison medical program in 2008. Former state employee Donald Francis now claims that Kelso agreed to joined AOC payroll to get a pension from the California Public Employees Retirement System pension. Since his new federal salary counted as his highest year of compensation, Kelso would retire as one of the highest paid CalPERS recipients and would still qualify for lifetime health benefits at taxpayer expense.

Francis petitioned the Superior Court in Sacramento for a writ of mandate, but Kelso, the CalPERS Board of Administration, the AOC and the California Prison Healthcare Receivership Corp. claimed that Francis lacked standing.

Judge Michael Kenny found otherwise last week, finding that Francis meets the public interest exemption to the requirement that he have a special interest in the outcome of his lawsuit.

“In such a case, the petitioner need not show that he or she has any legal or special interest in the result, since it is sufficient that he or she is interested in a citizen in having the laws executed and the duty in question enforced,” Kenny wrote.

“It is undeniable that issues such as the proper administration of public pension systems, the long-term fiscal viability of such systems, the making of pension benefit determinations with long-term fiscal ramifications with limited or no public accountability, and individual cases of pension ‘spiking’ for high-level government officers, have become matters of critical, and legitimate, public concern,” he added. “In these times of fiscal crisis, the public duty of pension administrators to act in compliance with the law is sharp, and the public need to provide a means of review and accountability when they allegedly fail to do so is weighty.”

* Corrected to reflect accurate under-reporting.