Will they walk the talk?

Posted on March 12, 2015

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Yesterday you heard judge Marsha Slough and Martin Hoshino sit in front of an assembly subcommittee and represent that they’re taking seriously the auditors findings and executing on a strategy to address them. But the two judges McCabe and Wachob were brought aboard the judicial council three years ago with great fanfare and they were alleged to be the new shepherds of change with respect to the goals accomplished in the SEC report.

Three years ago they were brought on board to hold the AOC’s feet to the SEC fire and all they managed to do was to bow down and kiss them.

Out of 124 SEC recommendations made, Mr Wachob and Mr. McCabe permitted 57 of those to be reworded by the AOC to the point that they didn’t even have the same meaning as the SEC recommendations. Folks, that is nearly half of the recommendations.

Then after rewording 57 of the 124 recommendations, McCabe and Wachob were asleep at the accountability wheel when the AOC declared that 82 of the 124 recommendations had been fulfilled when in actuality, due to the rewording of the directives, only 51 of the 124 recommendations had been fulfilled.

Accountability demands that Wachob and McCabe be thanked and excused and not reappointed to the council.

Other items of interest in the hearing:

The AOC’s high catering bill revolves around one simple standard called the working lunch. If you are to work at lunch, say, while you are attending an AOC meeting, catering can be requested and the request will be fulfilled. That’s an incredibly low standard for buying lunch. The working lunch standard should be abolished. If there is to be a working lunch, ensure that employees and judges alike brown-bag it.

There are 88 employees at the AOC that make more than 130K. Subtract the 23 people identified as senior management and you’re left with 65 managers and supervisors that are making more than 130K. If there are only three divisions of the AOC as was represented, the AOC should follow the lead of government everywhere and eliminate the middle management fat currently holding the title of director and assistant director. The top employee of any office below the three divisions of the AOC should be senior manager.

Unfortunately, and this was also mentioned by Elaine Howle, is that the 3/4 million dollar classification and compensation study currently underway is putting the cart before the horse. With no mission plan and under the guidance of AOC management the structure of the AOC will not come into question under this classification and compensation study. In fact, we’d go as far as calling a self-commissioned study of classification and compensation that is directed by AOC management for the benefit of AOC management a severe conflict of interest.

If I hire someone for the express purpose of classifying my position and compensating me for that classification, there is no doubt whatsoever that I’m getting a raise that will be well justified. Otherwise why would I myself commission and direct such a study?

If there were any meaningful oversight of the AOC then the people commissioning the study and working with the contractor should come from and be directed by the judicial council, the alleged oversight body, and then only after the AOC knows what their mission will be and they are reorganized to meet the goals of that mission. That is when you put a price tag on it but those savvy managers Jody and the two Curts want to make sure the horse is bolting from the barn before anyone questions them about the appropriateness of their non-existent business model.

It is for all of these reasons above (and many others) that Jody and the two Curts should also be given their own walking papers and the judicial council themselves should take control of the classification and compensation survey.

Given the lack of accountability regarding time cards, the leave buy back program was unconscionable because everyone at the AOC knows you only fill out a time card once a month and no one verifies them. It is a system based on trust that added over 15,000.00 to top executive pay because at a certain point, leave that is accrued that is unused or not cashed out falls off the books.

We heard Judge Marsha Slough indicate that her committee basically isn’t kissing the AOC’s feet like McCabe and Wachob and is holding the AOC’s feet to the fire. But where does accountability come into play? Someone authorized those vehicle purchases/leases. That person(s) should be held accountable and lose their job.

To wrap it up, I heard a whole lot of action is happening. But the actions that are happening and what needs to happen seem to be only partially crossing lists. And if the AOC and the council were serious about reshaping the agency to serve the courts, then they would terminate the classification and compensation study in its tracks and commission a new one, based on a new mission statement and a reorganization to meet that mission.

Before the horse gets out of the barn….

AG letter – AOC