Tuesday, June 24, 2014
No Further Budget Cuts in Los Angeles Superior Court—Wesley
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Superior Court will not have to make new cuts in its Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget, Presiding Judge David Wesley said yesterday.
While the budget signed by the governor Friday “does not provide the trial courts with enough funding to keep the courts as a whole at current service levels,” Wesley said in an email to the court’s judicial officers, a copy of which was obtained by the MetNews, the local court has already made the reductions necessary to get by on the funding it will receive.
“We are very disappointed in the level of support provided to the trial courts,” he wrote. “We had developed reasonable expectations, based upon our interactions with legislators, that we would find ourselves with additional resources with which to begin rebuilding our Court. Those expectations were not met.”
Of the $223 million appropriated to the judicial branch, he explained, $40 million is for courthouse construction, $7 million for the appellate courts, $15 million for collaborative courts, $43 million for already-incurred expenses for employee benefit cost increases, and $30 million will go toward backfilling an expected revenue shortfall statewide.
“Only $86 million is scheduled for trial court operations—and even that amount will be reduced because the funding amounts for benefit cost increases and for revenue shortfalls are likely to be insufficient, with the gap made up out of funding for operation,” the judge explained.
But the Los Angeles Superior Court, he said, will not have to reduce services further because of the “aggressive action” it took last year, including the consolidating of court functions through the closure of some courthouses, shifting some types of cases from one facility to another, and elimination of more than 500 jobs.
“This foresightfulness, and the hard work that judges and staff have done over the past few years, have protected us against further serious consequences,” he wrote. “We thank you for that.”
The court, he said, will continue to seek savings and service improvements through technology.
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