McCoy: No More Staff Furloughs After Next Week’s
Court Will No Longer Take Voluntary Contributions From Bench Officers’ Paychecks
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
There will be no staff furlough days for Los Angeles Superior Court employees after the one scheduled for next Wednesday, Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy told the court’s judicial officers yesterday.
“Our court’s staff furlough will be suspended indefinitely as of July 31, 2010,” he said in an email, a copy of which was obtained by the MetNews. “Wednesday, July 21, 2010, will be the final planned staff furlough day, and the Court will thereafter return to a full work schedule.”
With the end of furloughs, McCoy said, the court will end a program under which judges and commissioners voluntarily donated 4.7 percent of salary—equivalent to the one-day-per-month of pay that staff members were losing as a result of the furlough.
The scheduled furlough day next week must go forward, McCoy explained, “[b]ecause implementing steps for furloughs must be taken weeks in advance.” The day is not a court holiday, so judicial officers will work, but all but a skeleton crew of employees will have an unpaid day off, no formal court business will be conducted other than on an emergency basis, and drop boxes will have to be used for filings.
The court began implementing the once-per-month furloughs last July in response to the state’s shrinking revenues. The state Judicial Council, pursuant to legislative authorization, subsequently implemented a one-day-per-month court holiday to achieve similar savings statewide.
That authorization expired at the end of June, and no legislation that would revive the court closures is pending, McCoy noted. The suspension of furloughs is “subject, of course, to future adverse budget developments which could possibly force us to again institute staff furlough days to meet future cuts, should they occur,” the presiding judge acknowledged.
“The spending plan adopted by the Court’s Executive Committee in September, 2009, anticipated three years of staff furloughs. While our budget continues to be both precarious and uncertain, recent efforts in Sacramento to mitigate the worst of the cuts appear promising. It now appears prudent to indefinitely suspend furloughs in the hope that budget solutions agreed to in Sacramento will ultimately be adopted when the final budget is enacted later this year.”
As for the voluntary salary deductions, McCoy noted that a similar statewide program initiated by the Judicial Council after the local court announced its plan is also ending.
“[E]xtraordinarily high” participation in the program by local judges and commissioners “offset the financial burden on court staff of three of the staff furlough days,” the presiding judge reported. Participants will automatically have the 4.7 percent restored to their paychecks beginning next month.
McCoy tempered the good news with a somber reminder of what lies ahead.
“Ending furloughs does not mean we are ‘back to normal,’ he wrote. “The substantial cuts in staffing levels incurred thus far will not be restored by the budget solution currently developing in Sacramento. We must continue to struggle to do our work with substantially fewer employees and fewer operating courtrooms. Backlogs and delays will unfortunately continue, even as we do our best to reduce them wherever and whenever possible.”
“I will do my best, as always, to keep you informed as the budget situation develops in Sacramento. Thank you for your hard work helping to maintain service levels as best we can in this time of great fiscal challenge. The public, and our superb staff, greatly appreciate your many sacrifices.”
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company