You can now add extortion to the long list of AOC RICO offenses

Posted on July 31, 2012

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Remember those 35 or so people let go from the AOC?

I’m sure that you would be amazed, yet not surprised to learn that everyone was fired with cause.

They then are reminded that being fired from the AOC will result in them not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

“But if you sign this here non-disclosure agreement and agree to waive all causes of action, we will change your termination to a layoff and give you a few thousand dollars and you will qualify for unemployment benefits, it’s your choice.”

During the termination ceremony, which has employees getting ambushed in conference rooms, they are fired for anything the AOC can pull out of the air, presented with the lose/lose situation above and then immediately escorted out of the building.

That my friends is extortion and it is unlawful. 

We ask AOC employees to verify for themselves that these events are occurring. DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR MANAGEMENT. We waited until we got a third related message confirming this is what is happening before making this post because we were in disbelief ourselves.

Added: A fourth in the comments below from a former employee that put his name to the allegation.

________________________________________________________

From: Cantil-Sakauye, Tani
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 4:13 PM
To: AOC Users-All (you still haven’t changed this mailing list name?)
Subject: Appointment of Administrative Director of the Courts

AOC Employees:

I am very pleased to share with you that today the Judicial Council unanimously approved the appointment of Judge Steven Jahr (Ret.), as the new Administrative Director of the Courts for California, effective October 8, 2012.

Following an extensive nationwide recruitment and interview process utilizing a professional search firm starting last fall, and led by a representative group of Judicial Council members, Judge Jahr who retired from the Shasta Superior Court emerged as the ideal choice for this critical leadership position for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) as the staff arm to the Judicial Council. The Judicial branch will be well served by the depth of his experience—22 years as a trial court judge, including four years as a presiding judge, and as a leader in statewide judicial branch initiatives. Those who have worked with Judge Jahr have consistently remarked on the strength of his character, his integrity, his ability to listen, and his openness to new ideas.

Judge Jahr is passionate about the law and about the administration of justice. He has a clear understanding of the administrative challenges and opportunities for the judicial branch and the AOC. His combination of judicial experience and administrative qualities make him uniquely qualified for this position. I know that Judge Jahr will be accorded the respect he has earned within our branch and that he will embrace the opportunity to work with all of you to preserve and improve our system of justice.

The members of the Judicial Council and I welcome Judge Jahr’s enthusiastic acceptance of this statewide leadership position and we look forward to working with him in his new role. The news release announcing his appointment and providing more detail on his professional career is attached.

Judge Jahr plans to take an active role in this transitional time before he officially takes over the directorship in October. I want to acknowledge and express my great respect and appreciation to Jody Patel who has agreed to continue to serve as Interim Director and to assist with the transition.

I look forward with great optimism to partnering with Judge Jahr, and appreciate all of your continuing hard work on behalf of the Judicial Council, the judicial branch, and the people of California.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Chief Justice of California

Chair of the Judicial Council

____________________________________________________

From: Patel, Jody
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 3:09 PM
To: AOC Users-All
Subject: Executive Office Update: AOC Workforce Reduction

Colleagues:

With final, year-end staffing figures confirmed, on Tuesday we issued a news release highlighting a staffing reduction of 277 for the AOC since the beginning of the past fiscal year through layoffs, voluntary separations, and retirements (http://www.courts.ca.gov/18699.htm).

As a result of this major workforce reduction, we’ve lost many valued professionals who contributed a great deal to the AOC’s work on behalf of the Judicial Council. Due to the size of this staff reduction and because it’s important for us to know who is no longer here and providing services at the AOC, I’m sharing with you the list of regular employees who left public service with the AOC during that time. (Agency temps and contractors are not included.) The list underscores the loss of talent and experience for the judicial branch, but also the challenge we’re dealing with in terms of meeting critical programmatic, operational, and service needs with a smaller workforce.

With fewer staff and fiscal resources to handle ongoing workload, we will be continuing to reassess priorities and required organizational realignments. Our most immediate priority is to manage a cumulative budget reduction of more than $30 million, and an additional cumulative cut of $10.3 million to the Judicial Branch Facility Program budget. The directors and I are committed to doing this in the most effective and efficient way possible. Our goal is to continue to fulfill our mandate to serve the Chief Justice, the Judicial Council, the courts, and the public by contributing to the preservation and improvement of the statewide administration of justice.

At the branch level, our most pressing priorities are in helping courts manage their budget reductions to maintain access to the courts for all justice system stakeholders. At the local level, with more requests for assistance coming in from resource-strapped courts, we’re dealing with the reality of a slowdown in AOC response times as well as the forced suspension of some direct and indirect services to courts. For example:

  • Staff is currently supporting 22 trial courts in labor negotiations. Timelines for negotiations services have grown;
  • Judicial and court employee education programs have been reduced providing fewer opportunities for multidisciplinary interaction and collaboration among judicial officers and court staff. Most judicial institutes have shifted from one per year to every-other year, reducing live, face-to-face education for experienced judges by 50 percent;
  • Help is no longer available to small and medium size courts with their Public Information Officer needs, except to play a high-level consulting role;
  • Fewer resources are being created for the self-help website to answer commonly asked questions, and updates to the Spanish language site are delayed;
  • For the Judicial Personal Security Internet Removal Program, no resources are available to meet demand other than for judges who are under threat and for new assigned judges. This will cause 3,000 judicial officers and family members to lose the foothold they have had in elimination of their personal information from the Internet;
  • Cutbacks in assistance to support data collection requirements will mean that courts will need to dedicate more time to meeting legislative mandates for data and quality control checks and reporting, e.g., cost-benefit studies of DUI and mental health courts have been suspended; and
  • Replacement of the Appellate Court Appointed Counsel system, which processes approximately 15,000 court appointed counsel invoices for approximately $37 million per year, will experience delays due to the elimination of positions.

As we focus on further operational changes in the coming months, these are the types of issues that we will need to address to remain as responsive as possible to the Chief Justice, the Judicial Council, the courts, and the public. Concurrent with these efforts, we will be taking direction from and working with the Judicial Council to implement changes stemming from recommendations of the Strategic Evaluation Committee.

This is a difficult environment, but we are moving ahead. I want to again express my great appreciation to you all for your sustained professionalism and commitment in supporting the Judicial Council and the courts as we work together to address the challenges confronting California’s justice system.

Jody

Jody Patel
Interim Administrative Director of the Courts
Judicial Council of California – Administrative Office of the Courts
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102-3688
415-865-4275, Fax 415-865-4244, jody.patel@jud.ca.gov

“Serving the courts for the benefit of all Californians”