Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Page 3


AOC Review Panel Seeks Input Through Questionnaires


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A committee charged with conducting an in-depth review of the Administrative Office of the Courts yesterday electronically transmitted questionnaires to some 3,500 bench officers, bar associations, legal organizations, and other branch employees, soliciting their views of the AOC’s operation, the chair said.  

Retired Third District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Arthur G. Scotland said the survey responses, which are due Aug. 9, will be considered as part of the committee’s “review and assessment process that ultimately will provide the Chief Justice, via the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee, with findings and recommendations intended to ensure that, despite budget constraints and changing priorities and expectations, California’s judicial system remains among the best in the world and a recognized leader in the administration of justice.”

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye formed the 14-member Strategic Evaluation Committee, chaired by Scotland, in May to evaluate the AOC, which has been plagued by controversies over its $1.9 billion case management system and demands for more autonomy by some local trial courts.

 Memoranda were sent to AOC directors and assistant directors; current and former AOC employees; supreme and appellate court justices, trial judges, superior court executive officers, retired bench officers, the California Judges Association, the Alliance of California Judges, the State Bar of California, the California Court Association, and attorney organizations, Scotland said, with links to a website run by an independent software firm where recipients can complete and electronically submit their survey responses.

“[I]n sending surveys to such an expansive list, the Committee has created an inclusive and realistically feasible information-gathering process that provides ample opportunity for individuals, entities, and organizations with interest in the judicial branch, as well as judicial officers, court administrators, and the AOC, to give the Committee important input regarding the AOC’s structure and operations,” Scotland said.

The surveys for non-AOC employees pose a series of 19 mostly open-ended questions, inquiring into the services provided by the judiciary’s administrative arm, the requirements imposed upon their local courts by the AOC, and what improvements in service and function could be made. Bench officer recipients are asked to identify their court, position, years of experience, and, if amenable to “follow-up contact,” their names.

AOC directors are asked for their assessment of the function of the division in which they work, what goals of the judicial branch their division addresses, and what accomplishments their division has attained in the past five years. Questions for employees ask for input on what changes they would recommend in operations.


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