AOC Staff Has Increased 60 Percent Since 2003

I managed to get a copy of documents prepared by legislative staff for tomorrow’s hearing and aside from questions about CCMS, expect the AOC to also be peppered with questions about the expansion of its staff by 60 percent since the fiscal year 2003.

Here’s an excerpt from documents detailing how the AOC has expanded its staff in each division.

Between Fiscal Year 2003/04 and Fiscal Year 2008/09, the number of authorized positions for the Administrative Office of the Courts grew from 579.4 to 924.3, an increase of 60 percent. See the attached spreadsheet for detailed information.

  • AOC personnel work in 11 different Divisions. Here is a quick description of each division and the increase of staff during that five-year period:
  • Executive Division. (Grew from 20.8 employees to 32, 54 percent increase). Includes the Director’s Office, executives for the appellate courts, and Emergency Response and Planning.
  • General Counsel. (Grew from 52.5 employees to 77.1, 47 percent increase). Provides legal services to the Chief Justice, the Judicial Counsel and the courts.
  • Governmental Affairs. (Remained the same with 13 employees, no change). Acts as a liaison between the courts and the legislative and executive branches.
  • Center for Families, Children and Courts. (Grew from 53 employees to 72 employees, 36 percent increase). Provides services to courts dealing with family, juvenile, child support, child custody, child visitation and domestic violence law.
  • Judicial Education and Research. (Grew from 85.5 employees to 93.5 employees, 9 percent increase). Provides education curricula for judges, court staff and AOC staff.
  • Executive Office Programs. (Grew from 49.6 employees to 82.7, 67 percent). Staff to the Judicial Council, including planning, research, communications, grant administration.
  • Regional Offices. (Grew from 12 employees to 142, 1083 percent increase). Three offices – in Sacramento, San Francisco and Burbank – provide services to the courts, such as technology and human resources.
  • Finance Division. (Grew from 98 employees to 114, 16 percent increase). Provides budget planning, accounting and contract management.
  • Human Resources Division (Grew from 67.5 employees to 60, 11 percent decrease). Provides human resources services, such as recruitment, classification and compensation.
  • Information Services Division. (Grew from 83 employees to 133, 60 percent increase). Coordinates court technology projects.
  • Judicial Branch Facility Program. (Grew from 44.5 employees to 105, 136 percent increase). Coordinates maintenance of state courthouses and provides planning for new facilities.

The document admits that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the AOC’s staff has increased since consolidation and since the AOC decided to take on more responsibilities that were once held and funded by counties. However, the document also states that certain divisions within the AOC have grown to the point that they should be scrutinized for reasons as to their growth.

For instance, don’t be surprised if questions are asked about the AOC’s finance department who have 114 employees handling a budget of $4 billion dollars.  What interests the authors of the documents is why would the AOC’s Finance Department need 114 employees to handle a $4 billion budget when in comparison, the finance staff for the Department of Education, who number 222, handle a budget of $58 billion.  When broken down, that’s $35 million that each AOC finance staffer handles compared to $261 million per staffer in the Dept of Education.

In other words, why does the AOC need so many staffers handling a relatively smaller budget when compared to other state agencies?

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