AOC’s Hiring Freeze Seems To Be Melting

Score one for the free press!  Amy Yarbrough of the Daily Journal reports today that although the AOC claims that they have instituted a hiring freeze, records obtained from the state controller’s office shows that they hired three new employees in August.  These hirings occurred after the AOC enacted a hiring freeze in May.

A quick look at the AOC website should say it all.  Pay extra attention to the bolded language, which by the way is bolded by the AOC on their own website.


The immortal words of Queen Victoria, “We are not amused,” barely expresses how AOC critics are taking this piece of news.  Here are a couple quotes from three judges quoted in the article.

“It is indefensible to continue to grow the court bureaucracy in San Francisco while local courts are required to furlough or lay off employees and at thte same time citizens are being denied acces to their county courthouses.”  Judge Maryanne Gilliard

“Disappointing…very difficult to comprehend.”  Judge Dan Goldstein

“I know that we here in Los Angeles and courts really everywhere are contracting.  It’s hard to believe that any part of the branch would be expanding at this time.”  Judge Michael Paul Vicencia.

Naturally the AOC is all over the map on this one with William Vickrey claiming that the hiring freeze was only in place until the budget was passed by the legislature.  Then he claimed that the hiring process occurred before the hiring freeze was set into place.  Meanwhile another spokesperson for the AOC said the hiring freeze was in place and that there would be no new hires.

Now here’s the thing.  The AOC says they started a “hard freeze” in May of 2009.  Before that they had a “soft freeze”  in February of 2008.  But according to the article, hiring continued despite the “hard” and “soft” hiring freezes.

The AOC continued to hire, though, and new employees joined the agency throughout the year, including in June and one on July 1, according to data provided to the Daily Journal by the state Controller’s Office.

Incredible.  This is just another example of how the AOC continues  to put out two faces.  One face is the responsible agency doing its diligent duty to enact a hiring freeze in the middle of dire budgetary cuts.  Meanwhile the other face goes on hiring.

Now the AOC can claim that they only hired three positions and that the positions were needed.  That is not the point.  The point is you’re telling the public one thing and behind the scenes you’re doing exactly the opposite.  While the AOC stubbornly clings to funds to feed its CCMS computer program, which one can argue has led to courts furloughing and laying off court staff, it continues to expand its own staff.  Apparently the AOC believes that hiring freezes are good for everyone else except themselves.  But then again, why should we be surprised?

5 responses to “AOC’s Hiring Freeze Seems To Be Melting

  1. wonder how San Mateo feels about this….

  2. When the AOC implemented its so called “hiring freeze” it also issued directions to all of the Directors of the various AOC Divisions on how to get around the hiring freeze with an internal “exemption” process. So along with requesting information from the State Controllers office on the number of new hires at the AOC despite this illusionary hiring freeze,the Daily Journal may might want to consider doing a Public Records Act request from Vickrey and the AOC for the number and kind of “exemptions” the AOC did/has done since February of 2008 to “get around” the impression of having a hiring freeze. Don’t be surprised, however, it the AOC claims the Public Records Act doesn’t apply to them should the Daily Journal make such a request.

    Dig deeper …

  3. With reference to Bill Vickrey’s coverup regarding the supposed AOC hiring freeze, it is not only the press and public he has lied to about the AOC’s phoney position. Staff and judges have also been lied to by him. Need we remember that: “if you decide that a witness deliberately testified untruthfully about something important, you may choose not to believe anything that witness said.”? How can anyone believe what he has to say? How can he lead the Branch into the new legislative year? How can there be public trust and confidence now?

    More than an audit is now necessary. Its time for an investigation. What organization should stand for its chief executive officer lying to the press and public (putting aside lying to the judiciary)?

    How can an organization which has as its hallmark fairness and honesty be governed with such dishonesty?

  4. Speaking of the need for an audit, and Vickery’s half truths, does anyone remember the infamous secret slush fund that Vickery hid from the legislature?

  5. This is slightly off topic, but there has been a lot of questions and criticsm of Bill Vickery, the “AOC” in general and the Chief Justice. The comments raise legitimate questions about the manner in which the judicial branch operates. However, I think the scope of the scrutiny should be expanded to include individual members of the JC. How much debate/discussion took place before the JC authorized spending $1.2 billion on a case managment system, which may end up bankrupting individual courts because there is not enough money to pay for it and there never was. To the extent current and former members of the JC authorized some of the policy decisions discussed on this blog, i.e., CCMS, facilities, court closures, DRAFT, etc., shouldn’t they be held accountable? And shouldn’t they demand more transparency from the AOC?
    Several months ago the AOC submitted proposed amendments to GC Sec. 77001 that would have completely changed the law and stripped any reference to local control of trial controls from the code. The JC/AOC would control the court’s budget and day to day operations. Was this language presented to the JC members before it was submitted to legislative staff? If so, what was the response from the trial court judges on the council? If not, why weren’t these judges demanding an explanation from the AOC for proposing legislation that would have turned to intent of the Trial Court Funding Act on its head without JC approval?