AOC and San Mateo Superior Decline Request for Independent Audit

Let’s chalk this one up under a category called, “Oh, everything is just fine thank you and we can do this on our own even though we admit we fracked up by not noticing that our court was millions of dollars short but hey that’s okay because we caught the problem and we’re pretty sure we can determine what caused the discrepancy and who needs an independent audit anyhow when we’ve laid some people off which means we should be okay until January when we think we might have to lay some more people off and please don’t criticize us for spending billions on software instead of keeping courts open because that’s just how we roll here at the A to the O to the C. Holler!!!”

An October 2nd article in the San Mateo Daily Journal reports that the AOC and the San Mateo Superior Court (SMSC) have denied the request of unions representing court employees that an independent auditor be appointed to investigate how the frack SMSC found themselves almost $4 million dollars short in last year’s budget. Or as I like to call it, the San Mateo Superior Court Financial Illusionmastastical!! Now you see the millions…and now you don’t.

And not only did the AOC and SMSC deny the request for an independent audit, the court also informed the unions that they would only meet with the union’s consultant on the matter for “a few hours.”

John Judnick, the manager of the Internal Audit Services of the Administrative Office of the Courts, is happy to meet with proposed consultant Harvey M. Rose for a few hours but the cost of the meeting must be borne by Service Employees International Union Local 521 and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 829, according to a Sept. 28 letter to them from Court Human Resources Manager Fran Doubleday.

In addition to the AOC graciously giving a “few hours” to the union consultant to discuss the matter and offering a meeting between Harvey Rose for the unions and John Judnick for the AOC, the courts also offered to turn over four quarters for the past three fiscal years for review. Khanh Weinberg of SEIU is not impressed with any of the AOC and SMSC’s alternative solutions.

But such a meeting is “not remotely the same as having an independent audit,” said SEIU Local 521 spokeswoman Khanh Weinberg.

SEIU Local 521 represents approximately 250 of the court’s previous 392 positions.

An audit by the same group that missed the $4 million error initially is also a bad idea, she said.

“How can workers and the community have any confidence this pending audit will be any more accurate?” Weinberg asked.

Good question Weinberg. But I believe the answer to your question is short of a thorough audit by an independent party workers and the community WON’T have any confidence in this pending audit. Then again, maybe this is just the AOC’s idea of “serving the courts for the benefit of all Californians.”

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13 responses to “AOC and San Mateo Superior Decline Request for Independent Audit

  1. The web is a wonderful thing. Look how a partial truth can be twisted into something more than it really is. It is unfortunate that some idiots out there will actually believe what they read on this AOC watcher. You are really stupid if you believe the union. Hey unions show us your contracts with the courts. This taxpayer would love to see what kind of benefits your hard working court employees receive. Why not? Everyone elses salaries are up for public review and scrutiny. Welcome to our world! Be transparent.

  2. Drag,

    What employees get paid and their fringe benefits are public record.

    The contracts you refer too are easily had too.

    Actually when you think about it. Trial Court budgets, employee salaries from top to bottom are all easily had. The only thing you can’t get are the AOC’s budgets and contracts.

  3. ANNETTE RUIZ-VIDES

    You must be the public from the AOC!! I am a Union Member who is also a taxpayer!! Don’t make comments unless you are the one in this fracked up mess that was created by the high paid CEO’s and CFO’s and AOC. All public records. Line staff don’t make what you think. Many a so close to getting Public Assistance with this economy and budget cuts. Remember these days there are only two classes: The rich and the poor. FYI CFO resigned. Maybe it got too hot in the kitchen. MR. DragMe2Hell. Evidently you believe AOC Watcher. Why you reading it!!!

    • Dear Annette,
      My apologies…you poor union member. I see the union has served its members well. Oh, I’m sorry, I believe my assumption may be wrong. This is purely speculation on my part but by the tone of your response, you don’t seem very happy. Well look at the bright side, you must still have your job at the court and since all those union employees (current and former) paid those dues your union representatives still have their jobs.

      In any case, since you are so smart. I can tell by the way you have so eloquently expressed yourself on the AOC watcher. Can you explain to those of us how you arrived at your conclusion that the AOC is at fault for something that is the responsibility of the CEO and CFO? I did not know the AOC was that involved in the day-to-day operations of all the courts in the 58 counties. Wow, that is impressive that the AOC can take care of its operations, as well as, the 58 counties. If that is the case, which I doubt it is, one might wonder why would the courts need a CEO and CFO. Please enlighten us all with your infinite wisdom.

      In response to the comment that I don’t know what line staff make. You know with that Public Records Act and all, it is amazing how much information one can gather and learn about others. Funny how that works. One can also gather information, from let us say our friends and families that work for the courts. Would you like me to tell you what I know? Come to think of it, I better not..that is a can of worms better left in the can and covered up. Don’t worry, I won’t spill any of the courts’ secrets. We will let the public keep thinking that the courts in the 58 counties are managed and operated by the most responsible and ethical employees that ever walk this earth. How could anyone think otherwise? I mean look at John Mendes. Now, can we agree that he was a keeper? It is a shame that Yolo let him go or he quit whatever the case might be. I’m sure Yolo got a steal of a deal having him on the payroll. He has a lot of “experiences” with the ins and outs of the court. Oh, wait, we should blame the AOC for hiring that man. Remember, the AOC is also involved in the hiring of all those court employees. Well someone needs to be blamed, isn’t that the whole purpose of the AOC watcher? Let’s take partial truths and put a spin on them so we can blame everything on the AOC. Two thumbs up!

      Now let’s talk about the economy and budget cuts. Let us not forget that there are many employees on the executive side (one of the three branches of government) that had to take 3 furlough days. They too are feeling the effects of the poor economy and budget cuts. So, what was your point? Unless you are dead, everyone is feeling the pain of the economy not only here in California but in other states as well.

      Let’s move on to your comment “there are ony two classes.” I think you need to do a little more research, unless, you can tell me exactly when the middle class became extinct. Darn, if that were true, a lot of us would no longer exist! Who pays all those taxes, the rich and the poor? No wonder we have shortage in revenue. Oh, wait, that is just an exaggeration on your part. Because most people are middle class, which is defined as a class of people intermediate between the classes of higher (rich) and lower (poor) social rank or standing; the social, economic, cultural class, having approximately average status, income, education, tastes, and the like. However, in this beautiful land we call the USA, you are entitled to believe what you want to believe, I support you.

      Next topic, let’s discuss the FYI. I need a FMI from you. FMI means for my information. Since you obviously seem to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, would you say your FYI is based on actual knowledge or hearsay. Let me put it to you this way, did you see the paperwork and have direct knowledge that the CFO resigned or was it a rumor that you heard through the infamous court grapevine?

      Now to address another comment you made and I quote “Evidently you believe AOC Watcher. Why you reading it!!!” I commend you on your word choice, presentation and use of exclamation marks. Bravo! Here is my comment, just because someone reads something doesn’t necessary mean they believe it. For example, I read books that are “fiction” and guess what I don’t believe them. Why you may ask..because it is fiction. By definition, fiction is a made up story. However, non-fiction is based on literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality, including biography, history, and the essay.

      Now, let’s say just for the fun of it that you read the “Enquirer.” Based on your statement, we can conclude that you “believe” it purely based on the fact that you read “it.” So, if there was a story about a five footed six toed man that ran for mayor and won in Sacramento, then you must believe it because you read it. Isn’t that your poing? I would guess to some people that would make sense but I think to the average person, they would see the flaws in your logic. However, you are welcome to your beliefs and I support you. Just so you know why I read and post comments on the AOC watcher, here is the “truth”: I read this because it is very entertaining to read. I would equate it to a soap opera or a mystery. Soap opera because it is so dramatic or a mystery because you don’t know what is going to happen next. I guess it could also be a comedy, since some of these comments are hysterical. Like yours! Well, thank you for your comments. I really enjoyed them all. Now in closing I must say…unfortunately you can’t fix stupid nor can you reason with it so why bother. Have a wonderful and blessed life.

  4. Unfortunately, I did not proof read my comment very well. My sincere apologies. Darn, one might conclude that I am actually human. Oh wait, it is the AOC’s fault. Sorry, I digress, so, here are my corrections to my post:

    We will let the public keep thinking that the courts in the 58 counties are managed and operated by the most responsible and ethical employees that ever walk[ed] this earth.

    No wonder we have [a] shortage in revenue.

    I commend you on your word choice, presentation[,] and use of exclamation marks.

    Isn’t that your poin[t]? (I must admit…I should have caught this glaring typo.)

    Well, I hope I caught them all. If not, sorry the AOC made so many mistakes. Oh, I meant to say, sorry I’m human and made a mistake. Hope the world doesn’t end because of it. I really should stop exaggerating. Scratch that ….that is what this is all about..isn’t it? Keep stirring that pot!

  5. Geez! Sounds like DragMe2Hell has some misplaced anger issues towards employees and unions. Why so angry? Are you one of the people who lost your job because of the budget “error” in San Mateo, are you one of the employees who lost your job in Alameda, are you one of the employees about to be laid-off in Mendocino because they’re closing a courthouse down, or are you one of the employees who will likely be laid off shortly in LA? Maybe you’re one of the thousands whose salaries are being cut because of the court closures that could have been avoided if actually keeping courts operating where a priority to those in charge. Court employees are suffering in terms of their economic well-being, facing work backlogs and longer lines with angrier people at clerk windows. Your ignorant, juvenile comments are an offense to every hard working court employee. And one more time just so it is clear to you – collective bargaining agreements are a matter of public record. They’ve been for nearly a half century. Remember the saying those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Well, DragMe2hell, my guess is that you work for the AOC and, if so, I’d heed that old saying and avoid taking any righteous positions you certainly can’t defend. This taxpayer would certainly like to know what y’all in hell have been doing with the public’s money. So back at you – be transparent!

  6. It’s confirmed – DragMe2Hell really is in in hell! Because only a person who lives in some sort of personal hell could be so bitter, angry and nasty to feel compelled to write such a response just to try and prove that they’re somehow more intellectually superior than another person. I can tell that Hell really put his/her best effort forward to try and degrade another person. You should be proud, Hell! Unfortunately, all I really got out of Hell’s rant is that Hell got a college education but really is quite a stupid, pitiful and unenlightened person.

  7. Actually, I was stating the facts as I see them. Apparently, you and Annette are cut from the same cloth. Kudos to you! I don’t believe I have thrown any stones. Please enlighten me to which stone are you speaking of? I’m actually not angry but I do find humor in reading the reactions to my posting. It’s funny to see how this so-called “wiseemployee” has turned into a raving maniac. So, WiseEmployee why don’t you tell us what has become of the public’s money. I will sit here and wait for you to tell us. In the meantime, here are some questions: Are you one of those employees that lost your job at Enron? Are you one of those employees that lost your job at AIG? Are you one of those people that lost your job at Worldcom? I didn’t quite get where you were going with that but I thought I’d give it a try. Just for fun..let’s add this in…there are longer lines at DMV, EDD, Social Services, etc. Angry customers…blah..blah..blah…This would be a result of 3 furlough days and remember you only have “one” court closure day. Let us not forget, that they also won’t be off on Monday. However, you do get that day off as a paid holiday right? As I see it everyone is doing their part..they probably aren’t happy…but they should be happy they have a job and only have one furlough day and not three. It could always be worse. Oh, let me apologize to those one or two court employees that actually do work. You not being one of them! I’m kidding of course. State workers get a bad rap too…so! Get over it! Truth is that every organization has some people that work and some that don’t. Oh well, so is life. I don’t recall anyone saying life is fair. So, don’t stress over the small stuff. Live each day as if it were your last. Don’t worry be happy! Even in hell they smile! I forget sometimes where I work. Could be the padded walls make me forget. Oh, just an FYI, I belonged to a union and as a former member…I can say unions suck. I know people who are in unions and yes I can say they suck. So, that’s my opinion..read it disagree and move on. However, I welcome further rants from you. This is fun! Thanks for keeping this interesting. Now, I need to go do something that is meaningful. Commenting to you is not. It is just a source of entertainment for those that want to read it. Keep stirring the pot!

  8. What bothers me most about the court’s refusal to allow an outside audit is that the AOC assigned the same person who missed the 4 million dollar error in the first place to do this second audit.

  9. Impartial Observer

    All of this is so interesting. To the person posting under DragMe2Hell – shhhh. I know you don’t want to come off the way you’re sounding. I know you’re probably a frustrated person who feels under attack. Everyone feels under attack. Just may end up being the undoing of all of us…..

  10. Open that can of worms Hell! What do you know?? Spill the court secrets! The public DOES NOT think the courts are managed and operated by the most responsible and ethical employees that ever walk this earth. Do tell…

  11. DragMe2Heaven

    Hell, did you really take the time (30 minutes it looks like) to repost your comment with grammatical corrections? Someone’s insecure about their intelligence…

    The answer to your comment below is on today’s post. Feel free to add it to your fun fictional reading list:

    ”Next topic, let’s discuss the FYI. I need a FMI from you. FMI means for my information. Since you obviously seem to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth, would you say your FYI is based on actual knowledge or hearsay. Let me put it to you this way, did you see the paperwork and have direct knowledge that the CFO resigned or was it a rumor that you heard through the infamous court grapevine?”

    You should probably take your own advice and get the facts straight before you rant and rave anymore fiction. The court closure day is not a paid holiday. It actually deducts real money from employee paychecks.

    And why are you asking WiseEmployee what has become of the public’s money? That’s the point! No one knows! You’re so interested in whole truths, do you support this independent audit? If so, great.

    Why is AOC being blamed? The AOC’s responsibility is to provide financial oversight of the 58 trial courts pursuant to the Trial Court Funding Act of 1997. Courts are required to submit monthly reports to the AOC (if this isn’t for oversight reasons then courts are wasting a looot of their time). There are scheduled court audits by the AOC. The AOC actually did an audit in 2007 on SMSC! They missed the errors! They’re either not doing their job or they really suck at it. Really, what’s the point of the AOC? What are the “operations” they have to take care of that you mentioned? I’d really like to know. You’re question comment about the need for CEO or CFO is dead on! Except it’s the reverse, one might wonder why the courts need an AOC.

    Verify this for me would you Hell. AOC employees aren’t union, correct? Unless I’m part of the 1/3rd that makes 6-figures, I’d be disgruntled as well. Do you not receive the kind of benefits that union employees have? You should probably rejoin that union of yours. Yay to raising working standards!

  12. Okay folks. Let’s try to keep things civil here. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Everyone should be respectful of others’ opinions. Disagreeing and challenging each other is fine, but let’s do so with some respect and with the rhetoric toned down. I’m not taking sides. Thanks.