Friday, June 15, 2012
Hundreds of Employees to Be Laid Off or Have Pay Cut Today, Los Angeles Superior Court Officials Say
By a MetNews Staff Writer
More than 400 Los Angeles Superior Court employees will be notified today that they are being laid off or otherwise adversely affected by budget cuts, court officials said yesterday.
The 431 affected workers, nearly 10 percent of the workforce of the nation’s largest trial court, including 157 who will no longer be employed by the court, 108 who will lose 40 percent of their salaries when they are moved to a three-day-per-week schedule, 86 who will lose between 5 percent and 40 percent of their salaries when they are reclassified to lower-level positions, and 80 being transferred to new jobs because their old jobs have been eliminated, the court said in a release.
The affected employees will receive hand-delivered notices today, Presiding Judge Lee Edmon said in a statement. The moves are being made, she explained, because “reductions in state financial support for the California judicial branch force us to cut our budget by $30 million.”
Today’s round of personnel actions represent “the unfortunate human impact of the need to reduce our spending,” Edmon said. “
We are laying off people who are committed to serving the public,” she added. “It is a terrible loss both to these dedicated employees and to the public.”
Edmon noted that the court has been shedding workers, and costs, since April 2010, with savings to date of $70 million. But the court “faces future additional shortfalls as more reductions in state support for the trial courts are proposed for the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget.”
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed last month to reduce judicial branch funding by another $544 million, and to eliminate the ability of the courts to use or maintain reserves as bridge funding to delay the impacts of cuts. The Los Angeles Superior Court has estimated it was face additional mandatory reductions of more than $40 million during the next fiscal year.
“Because the California trial courts are state funded, our Court has become a casualty of the state budget crisis,” Edmon said in her statement. “We have blunted the impacts of the cuts through the use of locally held reserves,” said Edmon. “But we cannot do that indefinitely—especially if those reserves are swept, as is being considered in the current budget talks. Our Court is in the midst of a series of painful and wrenching reductions that must ultimately bring services in line with significant reductions in state funding.”
Under the plan previously announced and already partially implemented by the court, 56 courtrooms will be closed or left unstaffed—24 in civil law, 24 in criminal, three in family law, one in probate, and four in juvenile law. Eleven more courtrooms will be closed through the elimination of Informal Juvenile Traffic courts, court reporter services have been reduced, and more than 100 non-courtroom positions are being eliminated.
Laid off employees will be given two weeks administrative leave and an opportunity to attend workshops on post-employment benefit issues. By the end of today, the court noted, its total budgeted workforce will have been reduced by 23 percent in 10 years.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company