Budget Trailer Bill: Another audit of the AOC that does not go far enough

Posted on June 19, 2013

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Coming in after the budget was a budget trailer bill. SB 75 (link) calls for, among other items, an audit to see how the old state court system is currently implementing public contract code. Starting on page 36 of the budget trailer bill it outlines that the state auditor shall conduct an audit of the AOC commencing on or before July 1,2013, which we believe should be thorough and go back at least five years. Unfortunately, it will likely just cover the short period between when the code was applied to the AOC’s operations and the date of the audit.

A really fascinating aspect of the budget trailer bill are these few lines that seem to us to apply as equally to the AOC as they do to the Judicial Council  which would go a really long ways in showing how your public dollars are squandered by predetermined outcomes and studies conducted to justify those predetermined outcomes.

Open Meetings Budget Bill Language

Budget Bill Language included in the budget requires the Judicial Council to adopt an open meetings rule of court with very specific components:

• The rule shall apply to any committee, subcommittee, advisory group, working group, task force, or similar multimember body that reviews issues and reports to the Judicial Council; and
• The rule shall provide for telephone access for requesting persons; and
• The rule shall establish public notice requirements for any meeting of a body subject to the rule.

We don’t like the idea of a rule of court over statute because there is no one to enforce rules of court. Indeed, no effort whatsoever is made to enforce the rules of court on anyone but litigants and their attorneys.

For everyone else a rule of court might as well be a guideline that you are free to ignore. I don’t think legislators have given this a whole lot of thought but it was a rule of court concerning public records that resulted in the presentation of a fully redacted version of the Deloitte contract with no one being held accountable, nor an un-redacted version of this contract making its way into the public domain. Instead, the redactors will be moving on to enjoy their spiked pensions in retirement.

Please consider it one of your first tasks Elaine Howle. Please deliver to the people an un-redacted copy of the Deloitte\ AOC contract for the CCMS project to better highlight how the rules of court are an ineffectual double standard.

We’d also like you to look into the widely reported embezzlement where the AOC gave the embezzler a free pass on over a hundred grand. Since the embezzler was alleged to have been hired to “massage the numbers” of another AOC program to make it appear that hundreds of thousands of dollars was not mis-spent, we the people would like to know all of the details of this embezzlement including obtaining a copy of the non-existent crime report where this crime was reported – and as you allege  the AOC alleges- Kamala Harris refused to prosecute.

We’d also like you to take a microscope over the AOC’s construction program but that seems to have been put off-limits by legislators. The AOC has free reign over billions in bond money and has generous exemptions made to public contract code that make kickbacks entirely legal. Much like our University of California system who declares themselves to be a sovereign and above all state laws our legislators have permitted a similar situation to exist with the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

In other news: 511 jobs were eliminated in Los Angeles Superior Court last Friday and the word on the street is they’re not done yet. There might be more jobs eliminated at  the end of this year.

And an unconfirmed report from the realm of the private message window:  Contra Costa Courts Kiri “Hare Kari” Torre of digital purgatory fame is alleged to have announced her retirement, “effective immediately.” So what does it take to get Mike Roddy, Steve Nash and pretty boy from Santa Clara on that train out of town? From what I hear, Vickrey is living the dream in Scottsdale while Overholt is living the dream as a court exec in Tempe Tucson. Trust us, there is plenty of room in Arpiaoland for the rest of you.