SAN FRANCISCO—Justice Douglas P. Miller, chair of the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, announced today that the Judicial Council has trimmed the size of its advisory committees by about 10 percent to reduce costs, and he expects more consolidation to occur in the next few months.
The announcement coincides with Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye’s appointments of new committee members, whose terms begin November 1. Hundreds of nominations were submitted for vacancies on 15 of 17 Judicial Council advisory committees. The nominations of justices, judges, and attorneys are vetted by advisory committee chairs and by the Executive and Planning Committee before being sent to the Chief Justice, who filled 75 of the vacancies. Membership rolls shrank from 377 to 350.
“Our recommendation to reduce the size of advisory committees was difficult because they perform a crucial function for the judicial branch,” said Justice Miller. “They review policies or proposed changes to rules of court and their recommendations to the Judicial Council carry great weight. We prefer that members have a broad perspective about branch issues, as well as reflect the diversity of the state. At the same time, we are in a fiscal crisis and need to scale back on the size of all the committees. The committees are staffed by employees of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the agency has faced considerable downsizing this past year. We have to weigh all these considerations, as well as to make sure that we keep getting fresh perspectives on the committees.”
In addition to the advisory committees, there are task forces and working groups with approximately 300 members. “We’re in the process of looking at all committees, task forces, and working groups,” said Justice Miller. “Are they all necessary? Are they still active? Can any of them be consolidated? We also want to make sure that they answer to the Judicial Council because in some cases the past practice is for the council to delegate its authority over the working groups to the Administrative Director. As part of our ongoing examination of our governance, we want to make sure all groups under our auspices report directly to the Judicial Council.”
For a list of all the council’s committees and task forces, go to this web page.