The AOC’s Mausoleums to justice campaign

Posted on September 30, 2012


In a recent email composed to AOC employees, Jodi Patel opines that after top leadership switches deck chairs on the titanic while the Judicial Council band plays on that it will take 12-18 months to reposition all of the other deck chairs.

Meanwhile, while many of us weren’t looking, the Judicial Council and the AOC have taken all of this years budgetary assistance to the trial courts through the immediate and critical needs & trial court construction funds diversons that are currently keeping your local court operating and have shoveled all of that money back to court construction for the next fiscal year.

If they can’t have their grubby meathooks into one fraud prone endeavor like software development then they should double down their bets on the other fraud prone endeavor of court construction, right?

We call it the AOC’s Mausoleums to Justice campaign. 

Despite having compelled the layoffs of thousands of courtworkers and a backdoor dismantling of our civil justice system,  that judicial ‘leadership’ and I use that term loosely, has chosen that next year, the Mausoleums to Justice program takes precedence over keeping the courts open and operational.

In the current fiscal year,  2012-2013 240 million of courthouse construction money was sent to the trial courts with over 67 million allocated for capital courthouse construction costs.

In 2013-2014 this ratio changes significantly with only 50 million being allocated to the trial courts and an incredible 160 million allocated to capital construction costs. So while the trial courts are being systematically dismantled the insiders at 455 Golden Gate want to build monuments to their insular rule.

We think we know how the Judicial Council is planning to make this shift…..

Santa Claus! 


The new organizational structure for the Administrative Office of the Courts will become effective next Monday, October 1, 2012. (The organizational chart is attached). This new structure represents the first milestone for implementation of the Judicial Council’s directives on the realignment of the AOC. Curt Child, Curt Soderlund, and I are honored to assume our new roles as part of the Executive Office leadership under Judge Jahr. We are enthusiastic about the opportunity of working more closely with each of your offices within the new division structure, and confident that the broader realignment effort will benefit the AOC and those we serve.

I want to share some information with you on some of the practical aspects of the transition process.

Reporting to the Judicial Council
As Judge Jahr shared with you in his August 31, 2012, e-mail message regarding the Judicial Council’s approval of the realignment, the analysis and implementation of realignment recommendations will take 12 to 18 months. The council’s Executive and Planning Committee will receive a monthly progress report generated from information provided by your offices. Judge Jahr will provide a formal oral and written update at each council business meeting. While these recommendations provide a clear and valuable roadmap for the AOC, they are not the sole source of organizational improvement. Beyond reporting on specific recommendations, we also will be working with the directors to ensure that the council is made aware of other innovative actions that are being taken to improve how we operate.

Transition Timeframe
There are immediate as well as longer-term challenges in making these structural changes. They involve everything from basic name changes for the new office structure to budgeting and accounting processes, staff relocations, and system-wide technology and web updates. These and many other changes will not occur overnight but will need to be addressed over time. In this first phase, the focus is on establishing reporting relationships within the new structure, including the reporting shift for some units and also the significant bifurcation of the Office of Court Construction and Management into two separate offices. Internal human resources and budget changes for the offices also are under way and targeted for completion in 90 days. Changes are being implemented as resources allow. In some instances, they are requiring personnel reclassifications to reflect role or duty changes. I appreciate the support of the directors and staff involved in coordinating this effort while they are continuing to deal with their day-to-day responsibilities.

Naming Conventions
As we all adjust to the new structure internally and work with the Judicial Council, advisory committees, and the courts, for clarity purposes we would like to avoid creating acronyms around the new division and office names. (Like JACkASs) This is in direct response to previous feedback from key customers confused by the many different acronyms we use in communications. Where abbreviations are called for, our three divisions: Judicial Council and Court Leadership Services Division, Judicial and Court Administrative Services (aka JACkASs) Division, and Judicial and Court Operations Services Division should be identified respectively as: Leadership Services, Administrative Services, and Operations Services.  A similar naming convention should be followed for all offices, as appropriate. (In other words, don’t do what all government agencies do cuz the head of Jackass might be offended.)

AOC Templates
Templates have been created for the three divisions with drop-down options to insert the names of directors and offices.  These will be available next week.

By October 1, please ensure that your e-signature is updated to reflect the name of your office and new division, in that order.

Internal Space Moves
Facilities staff are working on floor plans to accommodate the various moves as we consolidate office space. They are meeting with each of your directors to finalize the best possible options for keeping offices and units together within certain limitations. A final floor plan will be shared with you prior to the moves.

There are many other issues, large and small, to be addressed regarding the new structure and the broader realignment of our organization. This is a challenging undertaking and I appreciate your cooperation and patience as we systematically work through each area of operations.

Serving as Interim Administrative Director of the Courts for the past eight months has been an extraordinary challenge in terms of the fiscal environment and difficult business decisions that needed to be made. I’m grateful for the support of the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council, and the leadership of Curt Soderlund and the directors who have played such a strong role in making necessary changes. I also want to thank each of you for your support and commitment to the work that we do to (a more appropriate word would be dismantle) improve our justice system. I look forward to working with Judge Jahr as he assumes his role as Administrative Director of the Courts on October 9 and know that you will join me in welcoming him and giving him your full support as we all work together to move the AOC forward.