And here’s another shot across the AOC’s bow this time on behalf of a group of Sacramento judges who have declined to give the AOC a portion of their salary as part of the AOC’s Voluntary Salary Waiver Program. The group of judges have instead decided to put their donated salaries into a new fund. An article in the Sacramento Bee explains.
An activist group of Sacramento Superior Court judges say they want to be part of the solution to the state’s budget mess.
But the jurists are refusing a request to contribute a portion of their salaries to a state courts bureaucracy that they contend is huge and growing, even as courthouses are closing and employees are being furloughed.
Instead of giving their money to the Administrative Office of the Courts, the judges have established a fund to pay for services for children, elderly people and others within the local court system, and they are soliciting other judges to pitch in a portion of their paychecks as well.
“If I am going to give up salary, I want it to be for a good cause, not for building courthouses or upgrading computers,” said Judge Maryanne Gilliard, one of the judges involved in the effort.
The Sacramento Superior Court Justice Fund, to be managed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, will distribute grants to programs and agencies, including the court itself, that “contribute to the administration of justice” in the county, said Judge Trena Burger-Plavan. A panel of retired Sacramento County judges will review grant requests and decide how the money is distributed, she said.
The fund will allow judges “to do their part during these challenging economic times, but who also want to avoid becoming embroiled with a large state bureaucracy and insure that their funds have a direct, positive and immediate effect for the people of Sacramento County,” Burger-Plavan said in an e-mail to colleagues.
Now how brilliant is that? Instead of judges donating a portion of their salaries directly to the AOC or to their own courts, because the AOC will only get its hands on it anyway, this group of judges have started their own fund that will benefit the community they serve in. Seriously. I ask again. How brilliant is that?
And it would appear that the group of Sacramento judges’ idea for their own fund is a hit with those that would benefit from the judges’ Justice Fund.
Robert Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit child advocacy agency, said he would welcome the chance to apply for a grant from the justice fund.
“It’s money we have never had before, and it would show that the local bench is behind us,” he said. “Sacramento is very fortunate to have judges who understand the benefit the community will receive from keeping the funds local.”