Wednesday, December 16, 2009
CJA Urges More Oversight Of AOC Pay Structure
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael P. Vicencia, president of the California Judges Association, yesterday sent a letter to the Judicial Council urging that body to take a greater oversight role in the pay structure of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
In the letter, a copy of which was provided to the MetNews, Vicencia criticized the AOC for approving discretionary raises without the prior, public approval of the Judicial Council.
The jurist opined that media reports on the AOC’s “unfortunate” actions had “created a serious crisis of confidence in the Judicial Council’s ability to provide proper oversight to the Administrative Office of the Courts” and that “strong action must be taken to address this issue.”
As the elected members of the judicial branch, Vicencia insisted that “judges must take greater oversight of the bureaucracy of the branch” and “demonstrate their ability to be good stewards of the people’s money.”
Cautioning that “confidence in the branch is dependent on the action we take now,” Vicencia recommended implementing a requirement that all future raises and all upper management compensation be publicly discussed and approved by the Judicial Council by no later than mid-January.
He also said he plans ask the CJA’s Executive Board to urge all members to withdraw from participation in the AOC’s Voluntary Salary Waiver program in favor of a different plan and suggest each local court establish a non-profit entity to which judges can contribute portions of their salaries.
The salary waiver permits judges—whose salaries cannot constitutionally be reduced during their terms—to donate a percentage of their compensation equivalent to one day’s pay per month to the courts, in recognition of the one day per month that courts are closed and most employees not paid due to budgetary shortfalls.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company