Earlier today, Administrative Presiding Justices, Presiding Judges, Clerk/Administrators and Executive Officers of the courts received notice that the Administrative Director of the Courts, Retired Judge Steven Jahr, is retiring at the end of September.
Two years ago, when a hugely unpopular AOC director departed under fire, the Chief Justice had an opportunity to choose an Administrative Director with appropriate experience, and one not tied to the former administration. Instead, she and the Council ignored the applicant pool of her appointed executive search committee, and reached back into the past.
Once again, the Chief Justice and Council will have a chance to either improve matters, or ensure further degradation of confidence, more budget difficulties and greater strife. This time, there can be no mistakes.
An experienced administrator with an understanding of his or her proper role, and an appreciation for the independence of the trial courts, should be chosen. Choosing yet another insider with a dogged devotion to the status quo will prove disastrous. Everyone is watching us. We need new ideas, new blood, and a realization that democratization of the Council selection process is the only real road to honest reform. Resignations and name changes fall short.
Very Truly Yours,
Directors, Alliance of California Judges