Working for the Judicial Council and a pattern of racketeering activity

Posted on October 31, 2016

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The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.

The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.

Burbank AOC Employees Tell Us:

  • I worked in the Burbank Yahoo building in the AOC before going to work for one of the vendors the AOC uses. They had two floors in that building. On one floor was dozens and dozens of CCMS “developers” that were spending all their time trying to look busy while producing nothing of value so that they could get away with bilking the AOC. They spent far more time working on their own companies requirements and paperwork than they ever did working on the CCMS program. If you ask me, significant billings were being generated so that those in charge could spread the wealth through kickbacks and keep the charade going.
  • The other side of the operations in that building weren’t much better. Instead of bidding out work to lower costs, they used a single preferred vendor who in turn, used their preferred vendors with each layer padding in profits ranging from 43-98% for their work because they had a willingly captive customer that did not care one shred about either costs or results. On top of these obscene profit margins were management fees imposed by the preferred vendor.
  • Someone really needs to look into the personal finances of those in charge of this program because while none of the facilities management administrators (those that work with the courts) would ever approve this obscene pricing, the managers in the program routinely did. They used what funding was available to address the needs of CAFM and judicial council darlings first (like appellate courts)  while all but completely abandoning the needs of workers in lesser preferred courts. ( like all of LASC, Joshua Tree, etc) To keep everyone quiet they supplied brand new company cars, portable electronics and plowed them with 6 figure salaries and if you dared to raise a concern, you would be labeled a “potential whistleblower” and out on your tail as fast as they could process the paperwork. New Management isn’t any better – but they are better at containing the complaints since there are fewer of them.
  • The metropolitan courthouse’s downtown LA parking structure would be condemned if it didn’t belong to the courts. There are structure-wide cracks through which you can see the deck below and concrete falls on people and cars nearly every day. 
  • Something that all court workers California should know and be aware of: Many of your buildings are laden with unsecured asbestos fibers that are blowing around unrestricted. Joshua Tree Courthouse readily comes to mind. So if you happen to develop mesothelioma in the coming years, you can thank the AOC.
  • A court employee in a bunny suit and mask and a case of aquanet hairspray would be far better off spraying above those tiles over their desk than doing nothing. (jcw- we DO NOT recommend this. While mostly true, asbestos fibers can be microscopic and invisible to the naked eye and disturbing them by moving ceiling tiles can cause them to go airborne. LEAVE THIS WORK TO PROFESSIONALS and insist that it be taken care of) 

San Francisco and Sacramento Employees tell us about CAFM

  • About good old, recently ousted Jerry Pfab: He constantly had everyone in all day meetings and spent tens of millions of facilities maintenance dollars trying to chase a baby baldridge award. He also spent well over ten million dollars of facilities maintenance money on modifying a software program called CAFM. Equally complicit in this waste was the IT director Mark Dusman who not only signed off on these mods but also signed off on the colossal waste known as CCMS. Of course in grand AOC fashion, he was promoted rather than shown the door. (another report indicates he was recently demoted but that is not reflected on the AOC home page)  
  • A consistent theme in these reports? Courts would be far better off hiring their own facilities management people than letting the AOC continue to hijack their funds and spend it imprudently and elsewhere. 

San Francisco Employees ask: Why does Emergency Response & Security continue to exist?

  • Why are we arming people of questionable character without police powers, without the power to effect anything more than a citizens arrest? How could (former Pacifica Police Officer and ERS member) Nick Barsetti work for the AOC and teach classes on active shooters when he has been fired for tazing a man to death? Why are we supplying them with unmarked police cars complete with sirens, red and blue lights and police radios if they are not sworn officers? Why do they duplicate and augment CHP functions?  Isn’t impersonating a police officer a criminal act? 
  • Why are completely unqualified people constantly getting promoted?
  • What’s it like to work at the AOC? Same (illegal) shit but different names.

Whistleblower Protections – There are none

  • The legislature put in place whistleblower protections in a utterly unachievable form. What they need to do is go simulate going through the process they established and they will soon discover that a lot of the requirements they put in place rely on people doing tasks for which they completely disclaim jurisdiction over and will not do. As a result, whistleblowers stand no chance of progressing any case. To top it off, there were legislative discussions surrounding exempting “judicial council staff” (those that work with judges on the council) from those protections and the legislative history shows that the legislators agreed. So to drive the final nail into the whistleblower coffin once and for all,  the Chief Justice renamed the AOC “judicial council staff” and even our supervisors and managers brag that whistleblower protections are dead.

Employee Morale Across the Entire AOC

  • To reference a euphemism or two, the morale across the entire AOC is that of a “Dead Man Walking” or a “Zombie Workforce”
  • Morale has utterly collapsed since Martin Hoshino took the job. It was bad before and it’s worse now. Nobody ever sees him or the managers he has hired. Their offices are always dark and they’re never around. The’re never seen in hallways or meeting with lower level staff. If management comes to meetings, the meetings are catered. If management does not come to the meeting, no catering is permitted.
  • Sacramento rents entire floors in buildings on Gateway Oaks Boulevard but half of the cubicles are empty because most of the new hires are assigned to San Francisco. All the work stays in Sacramento and does not get redistributed. You call that management?
  • There is more work than ever and there is more pressure to get that work done than ever before but it is the remaining Sac people that carry double, triple, quadruple workloads while San Francisco gets all the new hires. Staff keeps to themselves. There is no morale, no camaraderie. If you are not looking for another job somewhere else, you are just keeping your head down waiting until you are eligible to retire. If you complain, you’re a troublemaker and can expect to be escorted out if you do it more than once. New hires are looking for the nearest door within two months.
  • Nobody learns about staff departures anymore because JCW names the baddies and posts queen videos about “another one bites the dust” You could be working on a project for months via email and then one day, you call an in-person meeting and “Joe” doesn’t show up. Turns out that “Joe” left the AOC, ahem, excuse me, Judicial Council Staff over 3 months ago.
  • Oh, and everyone reads JCW. Everyone. Most especially managers, directors, the Chief Justice, and Martin Hoshino. People in Communications have regular strategy meetings to deal with the onslaught of legislative and judicial inquiries that invariably follow your every post. It truly is “Management by Blog” and whatever you do, don’t stop until these people pull their head out of their asses. You’ll know when that happens as you will have nothing to write about anymore.
  • Martin Hoshino knows that many current and former employees are mad as hell and will talk. He and legal services are doing everything they can to protect themselves from whistleblowers but you offer a medium that protects us. Long Live JCW!
  • Many people on the legal services team tell courts to do things that legal services would never do themselves. They constantly tell the courts to not treat their whistleblowers and people that bring up concerns any differently but when it comes to the AOC, treating them differently is all they do. They isolate them, don’t invite them to meetings, don’t include them in email threads etc, etc.
  • There’s been what can only be described as a mass exodus from the legal services team in the past few months, mostly over disillusionment over their role and how the AOC treats people in general. Believe it or not, if employees have legitimate grievances with supervisors or managers, they would encourage employees to take their complaints to HR. If there were enough of them over time, the manager or supervisor would eventually get the axe. But only after the employees who made the complaints got the axe first. It’s an unbelievable exercise in futility. They do everything they can to win your trust before completely abandoning you when you follow their instructions. No one should complain about anything. If you have a legitimate grievance in spite of so called “open door policies” where you are encouraged to raise concerns, find another job. Don’t complain, it will only get you fired.
  • Legal fees as gifts: In 2015 the legal services unit ran out of money in one of their budgets. Instead of moving money around to cover their costs, they went to two legal firms they paid the most (one with the initials WP&R and another with the initials of AA) and promised them future work if only they would lower their current billings. The one with the initials WP&R lowered the AOC’s legal bills by 37K and the other one lowered the AOC’s legal bills by 20K.
  • In case you haven’t heard, the AOC is spending another load of consulting money analyzing what each and every employee does in 15 minute increments. Yet employees are so poorly managed that managers are skewing the results making it look like they balanced the workload when they didn’t.

Violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, workers compensation laws and reasonable accommodations

One of the best ways of ending up in the unemployment line is to develop any disability. If that disability is caused by a work related injury, you will be ousted faster than if you develop a disability unrelated to your work.

Recently, an employee’s primary care doctor, working with a team of specialists and therapists, determined that this employee should work four-hour days while completing recovery process for a major head injury. After a few months of successfully performing ADA-accommodated part-time work (which the person had been doing for years), the person was called to HR and told that the accommodation would no longer be accepted. They were told to go home to complete recovery.

HR knew this employee was having issues getting LTD insurance covered and that the employee would leave with ZERO income. Possibly even more disastrous for the individual, no future ability to pay for incredibly expensive but necessary health insurance. Still, HR forced this employee to leave their work. They cancelled all insurances a few months later, with the final blow to come in June when they fired this person because they were not completely healthy and still unable to work without accommodation. I’m told that a new manager tried to pretend that there was no injury or accommodation in place for the person; and they actually attempted to completely modify this person’s job to something this person could not physically do.

Today, this person is not completely healed, is still not healthy enough to work full time and has lost virtually everything, including their home. They also still have no health insurance and have not seen a doctor in many months.

Get assaulted by your supervisor? Expect to lose your job.

There was an agency called the Judicial Council staff. This agency was made up of all the departments that you’d see in a regular business, but they did not have to manage to a bottom line like the private sector. They didn’t have responsibility to create revenue for the agency, so they had the ability to promote people into management who are not good supervisors/managers without much thought. It’s easy to see that some of the people promoted there would never make it in the private sector. Decisions at the Judicial Council are, for the most part, politically motivated and few decisions make sense to most staff at the time they are made. Strange decisions are rarely explained.

One teeny tiny department in the Judicial Council was made up of just seven people. There was a senior manager, manager, supervisor, administrative assistant, and three analysts. The supervisor, recently promoted, had the three analysts reporting to her. Unfortunately for the analysts, the supervisor was new to the role, had absolutely no people skills, and was a bully and abusive to her customers and staff. In fact, other department heads asked her senior manager that she not be allowed to interact with their staff due to her horrible attitude, rude and consistently condescending behavior.

One day the supervisor noticed two of the analysts working at a computer together. One had asked the other for help with a project she didn’t do often and had forgotten how to do. The rude supervisor approached the two analysts, angry that neither of them remembered had to the project. She pinned the analyst who was sitting at the computer against her desk, grabbed her shoulders and shook her hard—assault and battery for sure—injuring her shoulders.

The employee was physically in pain and very upset. The witness stood there in shock as to what just happened. The hurt employee had to see a doctor to deal with the pain and the shoulder injury. She reported the case to HR and did all things one would expect in a situation such as this, expecting that the situation would be fairly dealt with. It was not. The employee, who loved her job, asked her managers to be allowed to report to one of them, because she was now afraid of her supervisor. Since there was a senior manager, a manager, and a supervisor there was one manager on staff for each analyst, so there was no shortage of management to choose from. Unfortunately, her managers denied her request and she was forced to continue reporting the supervisor who had attacked her. HR investigated but did nothing to protect the employee, to no one’s surprise.

A few months later the employee was put on a Performance Improvement Plan for a random and fabricated issue. She was basically set up to be fired. They even made the mistake on the paperwork showing proof to the employee that they had just planned to fire her right after the assault incident. HR must have told them they couldn’t fire her immediately after the assault, and they had to build a case against her. (At least they did SOMETHING.)

What was the hurt employee guilty of, you ask? Probably for working too hard and having courts, judges and other external customers who were very happy with her work they wrote letters of praise to her senior manager. For that, she was abused, harassed, and eventually, (wrongfully) terminated.

And, you know what else? As it turns out, she had to ask the Judicial Council for ‘permission’ to sue them for assault and battery and wrongful termination. Crazy, right? Well, she asked … and they said no. Is anyone surprised??

Tune in to this website again soon for more surprising details about this crazy case. People need to know who the Judicial Council really is, and how they treat their employees.