We recently reported that the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee hastily tried to ratify a rule change that would have transferred oversight responsibilities for trial court spending from the Council’s most representative advisory body, the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee (TCBAC), to the moribund and reclusive Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency. We joined with a number of other groups, including labor organizations and the TCBAC itself, in publicly opposing the proposal. In the wake of the State Auditor’s sweeping critique of the manner in which the Council and the AOC handle trial court money, we believed that the proposal would have represented a giant step backward in the campaign to make the AOC more transparent and accountable.
We are happy to learn that the E&P Committee is backing down. In the face of vocal opposition, E&P has decided to shelve the proposed rule change.
The Alliance has taken up the fight to reform the AOC and the Judicial Council on another front. Having fought hard to bring about the audit in the first place, we’ve been working behind the scenes in Sacramento during the budget process to bring about the State Auditor’s recommendations for restructuring the AOC. Toward that end, the Alliance has retained Aaron Read and Associates of Sacramento, a firm with an excellent track record and a solid reputation, to help us spread our message of reform. The AOC has 11 full-time employees at its disposal in its Office of Governmental Affairs, so we determined that a retained lobbyist was essential to bolster our presence at the Capitol and provide legislators with a more complete narrative. We remain confident that our work with the Legislature will result in increased funding, as well as greater autonomy and flexibility, for our locally based trial court system.
Directors, Alliance of California Judges