As they’re bankrupting the courts, they’re handing out raises!

Posted on August 10, 2012


August 10, 2012
Dear Members and Others,

Just when you thought you had heard everything, Alliance director Judge Kevin McCormick flips over a rock and, lo and behold, more evidence of insular, out-of-touch decision making by the Administrative Office of the Courts is found.

We attach today’s Daily Journal article by reporter Paul Jones. In the midst of the worst budget crisis facing the Judicial Branch, the bureaucrats at the Administrative Office of the Courts are nevertheless receiving pay raises. In fact, the plan is to hand out pay raises next year.  We believe that today’s revelations are only the first of many related to this issue, and that further very disturbing details about these raises will emerge in the coming weeks.

Our state’s fiscal situation grows more desperate by the day. How can we possibly afford this largess for at-will unrepresented employees? While trial courts up and down this state continue to lay off and furlough valuable front line employees, curtail hours of service for our communities and shutter courthouses, it appears to be business as usual for the bureaucrats who purport to “serve the courts for the benefit of all Californians.”

Again, our only hope to salvage our branch’s credibility is by democratizing the Judicial Council and fully and immediately implementing each and every recommendation of the SEC. In light of this latest embarrassing revelation, it is unlikely that the Governor or the Legislature will be favorably disposed towards shielding our branch from further cuts.

Finally, the Judicial Council next meets on August 30th and 31st. Alliance director Judge Steve White will speak on behalf of our organization.

We encourage all judges who are able to attend to contact Nancy Spero at and request to speak during the public comment period. 

At this point it is expected that the public comment period for SEC related matters will be on August 31, but Ms. Spero has indicated that individuals who need to address the Council on the 30th due to scheduling issues will be accommodated.

Directors, Alliance of California Judges
Despite budget cuts and layoffs, many Administrative Office of the Courts staff have received pay increases in the form of “step increases” over the past two fiscal years and in the current year.

The Alliance of California Judges recently requested information about those pay increases from the AOC.
According to the AOC, in fiscal year 2010-11, 77.3 percent of its full-time employees got ‘step increases’ of 3.5 percent – raises collectively worth about $1.9 million. In fiscal year 2011-12, 72.45 percent of full-time employees received increases of 3.5 percent, worth approximately $1.59 million.
Judge Kevin J. McCormick of the Sacramento County Superior Court, a director with the alliance, said he’d tried to get similar information from the AOC without success. He called the step increases “outrageous.”
{DJ Snip}
Curt Soderlund, interim chief deputy director of the AOC, said the agency isn’t doing anything different “than what you’ll find in county governments and trial courts” in California. (JCW  Jody’s Pet spot still performing abysmally I see…)

{DJ Snip}

Soderlund said the increases all came from within the AOC’s budget and that the agency hadn’t asked for an increase in its budget to pay for them. The AOC’s current budget for the fiscal year is $148 million although that number may be revised downward.

JCW – Time to revise it downward – by about 147,999,999.00

Funny, Mr Couch probably got a raise. I wonder if the people across the street got a raise? Any SEIU 1021 SF Court employees to chime in?