SAN FRANCISCO—An audit subcommittee of the Judicial Council working group overseeing court facilities today released the final audit report on California’s court construction program. The lengthy audit report includes 22 key findings, 26 key recommendations, and 137 detailed recommendations to improve the program’s policies, processes, and procedures. The report also includes the AOC’s response, recommending implementation of all recommendations by February 2013.
Judge Patricia M. Lucas of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, vice-chair of the Court Facilities Working Group, who chairs the audit subcommittee, said, “We initiated this very thorough, top-to-bottom audit of the court construction program and selected global experts to conduct it. The audit subcommittee has been very closely involved in the process since it began in February.
“We believe this oversight process will enhance the AOC’s ability to consistently deliver projects on budget, on schedule, and at the highest quality, now and into the future, when we hope the program will have the funding to scale back up.”
The audit, conducted by Pegasus-Global Holdings, Inc., had three objectives: to assess the overall management of the AOC court construction program compared to industry standards and best practices; to assess outcomes of six sample projects at various stages of completion; and to assess organizational structure, staff qualifications, and quality of project consultants, including architects, engineers, and general contractors. Pegasus-Global is an international consulting firm with extensive experience auditing project management and fiduciary processes in multi-billion-dollar capital construction and infrastructure projects. Its clients include state, federal, and local government entities in numerous jurisdictions in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
“This comprehensive audit report gives us the clear direction needed to strengthen the program, improving its uniformity, transparency, and accountability,” said Justice Brad R. Hill, chair of the Court Facilities Working Group and Administrative Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District.
The Court Facilities Working Group will take up the report at its public meeting September 5–7, 2012. The meeting’s other focus will be to review more than 30 court construction projects and make recommendations about which projects can proceed and which should be indefinitely delayed in light of judicial branch budget cuts. These budget cuts are necessitating that upwards of $500 million in new courthouse construction be indefinitely delayed this year.
Final implementation will be up to the Judicial Council, which is expected to act on the report at its October meeting.