There have been a couple of articles printed in newspapers detailing how the AOC was spending thousands of dollars for seminars and conferences while at the same time pushing the closure of California superior courts as a solution to the budget crisis the judicial branch faces. One article detailed how the AOC was hosting a conference at its San Francisco headquarters to the tune of over $100,000. Another article I blogged about told readers that the AOC was hosting this year’s judicial training at the Dolce Hayes Mansion and spending even more money. And the reports of how much the AOC was spending wouldn’t have been made public if someone within the AOC didn’t view all of this spending in a time of budgetary crisis as highly questionable. So who was this person that leaked the financial reports? Well, now we know.
His name is Jack Urquhart and according to an article printed in the legal paper The Recorder, Mr. Urquhart claims to have been forced out of his job as a senior court services analyst with the AOC when he admitted to a supervisor that he had been the one to leak info to the media about the AOC’s San Francisco conference.
An 11-year veteran of the Administrative Office of the Courts said he was forced out of his job last month after admitting that he leaked information about a pricey judicial conference to the media.
Jack Urquhart, a senior court services analyst, said he acted out of frustration with significant costs racked up by the Judicial Council’s annual meeting in June. After telling a supervisor what he had done, Urquhart said, he was ushered to the human resources department and told that retirement was his only option.
“I didn’t argue, because it seemed to me the only other option was termination,” he said. Citing personnel policies, AOC spokesman Philip Carrizosa said he could not discuss Urquhart’s employment status or respond to his allegations.
Held at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco, the Judicial Council’s three-day conference featured high-priced facilitators, a catered dinner at the California Academy of Sciences and guest rooms — including a presidential suite — for out-of-town attendees. The total price tag for the event was more than $86,000.
“It occurred to me that we could find a cheaper way to stage this meeting,” Urquhart said. The AOC could have held the conference at its San Francisco headquarters, he said, instead of spending $42,000 for meeting halls, on-site meals and hotel rooms at the Hilton.
Now Mr. Urquhart is using up his vacation time until he retires in December. And even though the AOC may have forced him into an early retirement, Mr. Urquhart doesn’t appear to harbor any ill feelings toward his former employer.
“Some people think the AOC is an evil empire,” Urquhart said. “It absolutely is not. There really are some wonderful people who work there.”