San Francisco—California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye announced that she received a critically important report today from the committee she formed to conduct an in-depth review of the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Chief Justice appointed the Strategic Evaluation Committee in March 2011—two months into her new term of office-- to recommend ways to improve transparency, accountability, and efficiency. She is making the 221-page report available immediately.
In a statement released today, the Chief Justice said:
“I haven’t been able to fully digest this voluminous report with its approximately 120 recommendations, but it’s clear how much thought and work went into it. I thank the committee for their great public service.
“The committee began its work last year while many simultaneous changes were occurring and continue to occur in the leadership and governance of the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Jody Patel, who became Interim Administrative Director in February, has been and is downsizing the agency and beginning a reorganization, both of which are recommendations made by the committee. The committee’s information is a snapshot in time about the AOC. For instance, it points out that there were 1,100 employees, which include contractors and temporary employees. As of June 30th, the AOC will have approximately 860 employees, including contractors and temporary employees, and further reductions are planned. Even though all of the information the committee reports may not be current, due to the 12 percent budget reduction to the AOC, I decided to release the report today in the interest of transparency, and for the judicial branch to begin the all-important dialogue about how we move forward with these recommendations.
“As part of that dialogue, I’ve appointed the chair and vice chair of the committee--Assistant Presiding Judge Charles D. Wachob of the Superior Court of Placer County and Presiding Judge Brian L. McCabe of the Superior Court of Merced County--to the Judicial Council. I want to make sure that work of the committee is front and center on the Judicial Council’s agenda in the coming year. In the meantime, I am sending the report to Justice Douglas P. Miller, chair of the council’s Executive and Planning Committee, so he can study the report and recommend a way for the council to process it and implement the recommendations the council deems appropriate.”