February JC Meeting Wrap-up

Posted on March 2, 2013

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In the AOC led agenda the Judicial Council again entrusted telecommuting policies up to the overall discretion of AOC management. Although this new policy is more restrictive it continues to offer telecommuting from home based on managers discretion. How long before we discover that we have AOC lawyers working from the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Monaco and Brussels is anyones’ guess but since the same managers who previously approved these arrangements are still employed by the AOC I’d give it a few months before we again find the program abused by a favored few and want to again toss the baby out with the bathwater.

What surprised us was that the Judicial Council didn’t bite on the AOC’s three choices for a classificiation & compensation study that appeared to advantage AOC management even further. In fact, it’s  an effortless argument to make that the classification and compensation study should not be commissioned or directed by AOC management at all because it will serve to reinforce the current dysfunctional management-heavy hierarchy that exists today. The more money paid, the more useless pages of justification that can be expected explaining why AOC management should be the best paid in the State of California and that there is a threat to the independence of the judiciary if they aren’t.

What this should be is a wholly independent effort commissioned by the SEC committee members to spell out a reorganized AOC with an eye on cutting costs dramatically. Adding fourty more people to the AOC head count via BCP’s or budget change proposals is precisely not what the Strategic Evaluation Committee had in mind nor the direction they were heading in with their report. Yet as Los Angeles announces 551 additional job cuts and a total of courthouse closures that exceeds the number of counties in the state the AOC continues to hire like crazy.

On to the issue of what a classification and compensation study should cost: Sofaman (Mr. Ken Couch) outlined the costs of paying an outside firm in a competitive bid of about a million dollars. We’re going to surmise that is what it takes to justify those AOC management positions, not what a study should cost. Based on AOC head count, the AOC management, led by their new fearless leader the clueless Steven Jahr wants you to believe that this study should cost over $1,200.00 per employee to conduct and come out with the result that AOC management should expect for that hyper-inflated price. Now if Tani was a Donald Trump type and Jahr was the apprentice that he is we should be hearing those precious words “You’re fired” being conveyed to Jahr and Sofaman for grossly misleading the Judicial Council (but it isn’t the first time, nor will it the last time, will it?) This study, if permitted to be commissioned by the AOC will seek to justify the current management structure and current compensation (if not greater compensation) as its baseline because this is what the AOC wants and this is an AOC management objective that should be as plain as the nose on your face. It will further ‘confirm’ that the AOC is understaffed, contrary to SEC recommendations.

So how much should a classification and compensation study cost for the 815 people of the AOC? $73.00 a person seems like a more reasonable amount than $1,200.00 per person doesn’t it? There’s far more independence associated with a study whose results won’t be pre-determined  by the AOC’s generous checkbook. So where did we come up with $73.00 per person? How about the County of Fresno that spent $265,000.00 for a classification and compensation study for all 3,600 county employees? (Link)  Even if the AOC paid double Fresno’s rate, the study should cost less than 120 grand. And yet the AOC wants everyone to believe that they can get their pre-determined result if they pay someone over $1,200.00 per employee or $1,200.00 per manager with those managers then conducting the classification and compensation study on their own employees because they can do it in-house cheaper and faster.

We’d like to provide more financial guidance on the costs of classification and compensation studies so if you have any links, please send them to us at https://forms.hush.com/judicialcouncilwatcher and we’ll post them to provide a comparative analysis to AOC management’s lofty proposals.

Don’t forget – This weekend will be the first educational event sponsored by the Alliance of California Judges titled the Mason Judicial Education Program, Conference on Environmental Economics, Law, & Litigation that’s being held at the Sheraton Palo Alto. It appears to be a sold-out event but worry not – we have a journalist covering this event. The Alliance of California Judges has also received enough funding from donations from good people like yourself to open a Sacramento office and provide another voice to offset the Ministry of Truth and Legislative Enlightenment better known as AOC’s office of Governmental Affairs. And now its time to fund a little arm-twisting in Sacramento in an effort to right this listing titanic in San Francisco. That isn’t going to happen unless you commit to making a non-tax deductible donation to protect this branch of government by giving generously to the Alliance of California Judges by donating here.(link)