State Revenue and Appropriations
Funding Principles for Judicial Administration
Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times
Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses: Over the past four years, while the number of judges has remained the same, the number of trial court staff has decreased by 10%, the number of central office staff have decreased by 30% and the amount available for trial court expenses has decreased by 5%. This coming year, the number of judges will remain the same, the number of trial court staff will decrease by 10%, the number of central office staff will decrease 10% and spending on trial court operating expenses will decrease 5%.
Service Reductions: Over the past four years, the California courts have reduced hours of operation, imposed staff layoffs, delayed filling vacancies in the clerk’s offices and in judicial support positions, reduced the use of retired judges, and delayed jury trials. They have eliminated vacant staff positions and have restricted travel. These reductions will continue in the coming year.
Impact of Service Reductions: These reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to court services, produced delays and backlogs in the disposition of cases and diverted resources from civil to other mandatory case types.
Compensation: Over the past four years, some of the trial courts have frozen and reduced the salaries of judicial officers and court staff. Some courts have furloughed court staff; one court furloughed court staff 40 days a year. Some courts will continue these steps this fiscal year.
Efficiency Measures: Self-Help Centers--At the state level, the AOC administers an online Self Help Center and allocates funding to support self help centers at the local level. While considerable investment was made into developing a statewide case management system (which included document management, electronic workflow, e-citations, etc.), this project was terminated earlier this year. Current priorities are focusing on maintaining existing systems.
Restructuring: The courts have reallocated staff and made use of part-time and off-hours workers, but actions in this area have been limited, based on the palatability of these actions.
Centralization: The courts have centralized collections processing.
Commissions: A working group was established in October, 2012 to review implementation of state trial court funding and whether this legislation has met its intended goals.
The California Courts are in a worse position than in FY09 to provide access and timely justice.
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