Rumor Has It: AOC Salary Increases?

Just got word this morning that there will be significant salary increases for 2009-2010 for some AOC employees. Some may even see an increase of 14%. Not sure which AOC employees may be getting increases. I hear that certain legal papers are already working on this story. I will update this post with more info as I get it.

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32 responses to “Rumor Has It: AOC Salary Increases?

  1. justinianscode

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. It can’t be true. It would be WAY too foolish and arrogant – even for them!

  3. Nuts…completely insane.

  4. Hey, if the executive and legislative branches can do it for their employees, what is to stop the AOC? I hope the papers are on it! But the AOC is going to just say that the money has already been set aside for these raises or they have contractual obligations,blah,blah,blah. No matter that the courts had to renegotiate their contracts or had money set aside, the AOC word was that it would look “bad” to give raises with the budget crisis, and told courts not to give them! I bet they just hoped to do this on the sly and figured no one would find out. Hopeless arrogance.

  5. What did you expect them to do? They have to spend it quick or someone might make them actually send it t the trial courts!

  6. Rumor = fact. Interesting concept.

    Perhaps we should refrain from rushing to judgment until something more than rumor or hyperbole is presented.

    • justinianscode

      And now that you’ve read Amy Yarbrough’s article detailing the massive payroll increase at the AOC, what is your opinion about these facts?

  7. Hey Just Sayin’. The post said it was a rumor. Speculation until the facts come out is normal. Take a chill pill and lets see whatsup.

  8. I agree with Just Sayin’. This blog often raises valid criticism. Unfortunately, the legitimate message gets lost in the sensationalized, yellow journalism and the blind hatred of the AOC that is so rampant. This blind hatred, the “if AOC’s for it, I’m against it” attitude, tends to bury the message. Sure, it fans the flames of the true believers–the blind haters–who definitely exist and are represented by 8-10 core posters on this blog. But to many–I would venture to say, based on what I hear in day-to-day discourse, a strong majority–of folks who are open-minded to critical analysis, this blog tends to come off as a venting post for a bunch of whiners, poor losers, and people with of axes-to-grind. Which marginalizes it. That’s my opinion.

  9. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    AOC Salaries are pegged to those in the executive branch.

    For well over a year salaries for everyone below “manager” have been frozen, promotions of lower ranking persons have been delayed, many continue to work out of grade and the compressed work week has been abolished all in favor of a mandatory furlough. These events have had a sobering impact on morale across the AOC.

    The resultant effect of a hiring freeze is that the AOC must hire high priced consultants to perform the work that still needs to be accomplished because there are a lack of AOC employees to perform the work.

    AOC employees who enjoyed compressed schedules and reduced commuting costs in exchange for long hours are still putting in the hours – they’re just not getting the compressed time off.

    In other news-

    Court news update indicates “Judicial Council to reconsider court closures” it appears AOC watcher is helping to lead the Judicial Council around by its AOC nose ring.

    Paying that extra 50% penalty asessment and directing it to court construction and management didn’t go over too well when the resultant effect of this management fee is court closures, citizen resentment and most importantly – decreased revenues.

    This is why running the numbers results in a net loss for the judicial branch and why the Judicial Council is suddenly reconsidering.

  10. Obi-Wan Kenobi said:

    “The resultant effect of a hiring freeze is that the AOC must hire high priced consultants to perform the work that still needs to be accomplished because there are a lack of AOC employees to perform the work.”

    To which I ask, what work does the AOC do, that is SO pressing that they have to hire outside consultants.

    Secondly, doesn’t hiring consultants defeat the purpose of a hiring freeze?

    And finally where can the Trial Courts get a piece of this consultant action? They to are in the midst of a hiring freeze.

    The more that is exposed the more bizarre it becomes.

  11. Rumpelstiltskin

    Hey, Obi-Wan: “For well over a year salaries for everyone . . . have been frozen, promotions of lower ranking persons have been delayed, many continue to work out of grade and … [all have been subjected to] a mandatory furlough. These events have had a sobering impact on morale across the [trial courts, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court].” Doh! Doesn’t justify salary increases IMO, if that was your point.

  12. If these alleged salary increases have occured at the AOC, nothing justifies it. If true, it is particularly distasteful, insensitive and incredibly ill timed especially in light of trial court employee furloughs, wage cuts and lay-offs. Talk about adding insult to injury. Plus, they’ve cried the poors to the Legislatire and public. If true, it will be interesting to hear how they justify these raises and the sizes of them.

  13. The AOC will tell the public and the Legislature to eat cake.

    They are not responding to the public and to the press and to the Legislature about the judge staying in the Presidential Suite of the Hilton. Said suite costing $2000.oo for the likes of you and me. Ditto how a challenged company got a no bid contract for CCMS. Ditto why this company is far over budget and far under the expected completion date. Ditto information about an employee that may have stolen about $100,000.00. Ditto Judge Goldstein’s request as to the true financial connection between the AOC and Professsor Kelso. I suspect there hundreds of “dittos”.

    When the Legislature forces the Judicial Council and the AOC to account for every dollar they have spent and when the Legislature gives complete protection to the good and loyal empoyees of the AOC so they can reveal what they know about how these organizations are run without being fired the unraveling will begin.

    Omerta hopes that this all will result in the Judicial Council being a democratic body. A good start would be that the Chief Justice would not be the head of the Judicial Council for more than a two year term.

    Worry not: these increases will be justified by telling everyone that they were already in the budget before the hiring and wage freeze. That will be the frosting on the cake they will feed us. The Press Release has already been written.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      In a distant land a storm is brewing

      The Jedi have assembled in numbers and have already launched

      Tomorrow morning will be the first of many pink sky mornings

      And the empire is destined to crumble and be re-shaped

      • justinianscode

        Huh? “Pink sky mornings” – the meaning of this imagery escapes me, Obi-Wan. How about restating things in a way that us more mundane types can get a handle on, because I think you said something encouraging but I’m not sure.

        Thanks.

  14. PattyJane Smith

    One hopes, Obi-Wan. One hopes….

  15. “Pink sky at night, sailors delight, pink sky in the morning, sailors warning”

    This is an old sailor’s expression about the weather. It seems to have some truth in it as tested by the science of today.

    Just a saying such as “Birds of a feather flock together” which makes one think of …….well you complete the thought.

  16. Justinianscode,

    I too look for good news in Obi’s statement.

    What I see on the horizon is the L.A. Superior Court laying off a bare minimum of 1,300 employees out of a total workforce of 5,400 in the next 10 months. This of course will require a radical change in court operations. Closed courthouses, courtrooms and clerk’s offices.

    Good luck getting your civil case heard. Your ticket paid and if you are considering a divorce. Better do it now as you won’t be able to next year.

  17. Judicial observer

    According to an article in the Recorder today (12/7) entitled GEORGE TOPS YEAR OF CUTS WITH ONE MORE, there is another court door being slammed shut in the face of attorneys and litigants. The Chief Justice has announced he is closing the Los Angeles office of the Supreme Court.

    He reiterated he would continue putting money in CCMS development and hear no further debate about using branch funds arising from the increase in court fees for courthouse construction to stem the layoffs and closures facing many trial courts next year. He also advocated that the AOC needs no scrutiny of its spending appetite.

    What leadership! What a shame.

  18. Judicial Observer, for those of us who do not a have a subscription, can you please post the Recorder article for us? thank you.
    And Tony is right about the sailor’s saying. It also has been heard as red sky instead of pink. But the meaning is the same.
    Remember Pearl Harbor

  19. Here is the Recorder article:

    George Tops Year of Cuts With One More
    Cheryl Miller

    12-07-2009

    SAN FRANCISCO — The state Supreme Court will close its Los Angeles filing office at the end of the year in a sign of judicial belt-tightening that is likely to continue through 2010.

    Closing the office, which receives approximately three to five petitions for review each business day, will save the branch more than $350,000 a year, Chief Justice Ronald George said Friday. At the start of the new year, Southern California lawyers will have to send their petitions to the court’s San Francisco headquarters.

    The status of the office’s three employees is still being worked out, although all three are “pensionable,” George said.

    The chief justice announced the closure during his annual meeting with reporters in San Francisco. While in past gatherings George has focused on policy issues affecting the high court, such as the state’s death penalty backlog, Friday’s conference was dominated by talk about the judicial branch’s dire fiscal circumstances.

    The state cut $400 million from the judiciary’s budget this year, leading the Judicial Council to order courts statewide to close once a month. That branch can’t absorb more cuts next year, George said.

    “I made a strong pitch when I met with the governor [in November] that we have to have more money than what we received in the current year’s budget,” George told reporters.

    For starters, George said, branch leaders will ask the governor to restore the $100 million slashed from the judiciary this spring after state revenues plummeted. They’ll also seek to extend a number of filing fee surcharges set to expire next year.

    But one measure the branch will not pursue, George said, is backing off plans for a $1 billion-plus case management system. The computer network, now scheduled for full deployment in 2013, has drawn howls of protest from some judges and court workers who argue that money set aside for the new technology would be better spent on keeping courthouses open.

    Lawmakers diverted some of the money for the project this year to trial court operations, but delaying the system’s deployment will only drive up the final costs, George said.

    “It is something that is vital,” he said. “It’s not a luxury.”

    George also blasted a proposal, championed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Presiding Judge Charles McCoy Jr., to temporarily allow trial courts to spend new fees-generated money on local operations instead of setting it aside for an eventual $5 billion courthouse construction program. When the Legislature approved the plan in 2008, George called its passage one of the top legislative victories of his tenure as chief justice.

    George said McCoy’s proposal made no more sense than the state halting all highway maintenance projects during economic downturns or a farmer plowing under his seed corn.

    “You can’t just stop everything,” he said.

    George said that 50 of 58 trial court presiding judges have signaled support for continuing with the courthouse construction plan, which includes 41 projects statewide. But the prospect of a public rift with the state’s largest trial court could pose problems for the branch as it tries to negotiate specifics in a new budget with the governor and Legislature next year.

    George brushed off criticisms of branch spending — and more specifically, spending by the Administrative Office of the Courts — as politics generated by difficult economic times.

    “I don’t accept arguments to dismantle the AOC and go back to those supposedly halcyon days” when counties, not a centralized judiciary, oversaw the courts, George said. “I don’t buy this idea that we go back to this feudal approach. We’re a statewide branch.”

    In other remarks, George said that he and Supreme Court Justices Ming Chin and Carlos Moreno will probably “re-up” and stand for retention on the 2010 ballot, “as far as I know.” He acknowledged that he will likely face opposition from both opponents and supporters of gay marriage for his two rulings on the topic.

  20. Joe Montana, I take offense at the statement of blind hatred of the AOC. Many of the things you are hearing from us is a result of many years of frustration of having worked for or worked with the AOC. Most of us have that been in or are working in the public sector did so with one idea: to make a difference. The thought of being a state wide branch instead of 58 seperate courts was exciting to most of us. Then after years of working to that end, it became clear that what that meant to those at the top in the AOC was that the AOC was not here to serve/assist/work with the courts, but to become the policy maker for the branch. I have seen many court CEOs work themselves almost to death to try to work with the AOC and make sure the valid concerns of the trial courts are considered in policy making, to no avail. What your hearing is not hatred, but frustration and concern for the public and the trial courts. As learned in Management 101, you do not surround yourself with yes people, but listen to those that do the work that may not say what you want to hear. But the AOC administration has not learned that. That is why you will not find a lot of folks with court experience working at the AOC. That concept is not important to them.
    No Court CEO gets to be a CEO by not having some sort of political savy and understanding the realities and necessity of concensus and change. However, that is not what the AOC administration is about. It has been proven over and over again and built upon the exhausted bodies of judicial and court administrative leaders, that the AOC does not want concensus or feedback they simply have their own agenda of what they think is right for the trial courts. And in many learned opinions, it is not the right way. This debate is not a result of hard economic times as the cheif believes, it is a result of years of frustration of trying to get to a point where the AOC did invite opinions (that actually would be considered), wanted to consensus build, and truly make us a state wide branch for the benefit of the public and access to justice. Unfortuantely for some, this means there must be change and if means being aggressive in making our thoughts known, so be it. The diplomatic, touchie feelie, lets all work together for the benefit of the branch kumbiah approach has not worked.
    Yes, personally I may have been shrill in some of my complaints and made speculative remarks in reaction to rumors about the AOC, but hey, been there done that and you just tend to think the worse because guess what? That is usually 99.9% of the tim the case.

  21. Joe Montana, I think maybe blogs like the Watcher fill a legitimate need for rank and filers serving in bureaucratic cultures that do not provide a viable venue for the expression of their concerns and opinions (valid or otherwise). Maybe much of what you find objectionable here is, as others have indicated, less about hating the AOC and more about the frustration that arises when we believe we have no voice in matters that directly concern us as civil servants and citizens of California. Say what you will, the AOC’s executive management has not done much to alleviate that kind of frustration. As anyone who has ever attended an executive team meeting knows, one person does 90% of the talking, and that person takes a thousand words to say what most people can say in a hundred. That kind of behavior sets a precedent that often filters down to every level of management. It’s a way of saying, “Be quiet and listen. Don’t talk back.” Just like little children, even grown men and women will whine when they sense nobody is listening to them.

  22. Eunice speaks the truth. There is a culture at the AOC that does not welcome free speech. In fact, the culture encourages hiding and blind obedience. Of course there are wonderful programs and people at the agency, but this forum is a place where everyone can speak their particular truth. And, of course, pointing out the obvious problems and patterns that no one wants to talk about. One disagreement though, Eunice. Highlighting or exposing when laws may have been broken is not whining. It’s accountability.

  23. The rumors have been confirmed. There was an article in this morning’s Daily Journal outlining the pay raises.

    Where is the leadership? Whether the pay increases can be justified might be arguable. However, why do we need to rely on an investigative reporter to find out about them? Given the budget situation, combined with the furloughs and layoffs trial court employees have been required to take, the Chief Justice and/or Bill Vickery should have been out in front of this issue and preempted the inevitable media exposure.

    Why they would approve pay raises and promotions when there was supposed to be a hiring freeze is inexplicable. They had to know this would cause an uproar when people found out about it. The way they have handled this situation and others creates the impression the AOC leadership is either too ignorant to anticipate the response to their actions or too arrogant to care. Before anyone accuses me of being shrill, please note that I did not say the leadership was ignorant or arrogant. I will let you draw your own conclusions on those issues. However, perception is reality and I think most outsiders, including the legislature, are going to percieve the pay raise decision in an unfavorable light.

    It appears Mr. Vickery is more concerned about forwarding his agenda of CCMS and facilities by political manuvering than in actually leading the branch through this crisis. At a minimum, he should be sending weekly updates to all PJ/CEOs regarding budget related issues, the anticipated impact to the courts and addressing the concerns raised by the Judges Alliance, this blog, the legislature and media honestly and openly. Most importantly, both he the Chief Justice should be encouraging input from all stakeholders rather than characterizing those who dare to question AOC policy as being “shrill and uninformed”. His failure to take affirmative, positive action to demonstrate the AOC is more interested in serving justice in California rather than his own agenda, will only lead to more distrust, dissension, criticism and dysfuntion within the branch.

  24. Could someone please post the Daily Journal article Moneywatcher references above?

    • justinianscode

      I’ve read it, and it’s a doozy. Rather than post it in the comments, though, I am hoping AOCWatcher will be able to reference it in a new post soon.

  25. Justinian, How about a quick and dirty summary?

  26. Judicial observer

    Well now all the judges in the state know why the AOC wanted them to return a portion of their salary. It was so their managers could get raises and delayed — but reimbursed — compensatory time off while the rest of our local staffs continue to suffer because of the AOC’s fiscal irresponsibility. I bet the legislators who are taking a massive salary hit will be pleased when the Chief explains how the Judicial Branch needs more money. What hypocrites!

    Their leadership have shown their true colors to anyone who was doubting. They care not for the rest of our courts. They only want to increase their bureaucracy and their power and their control. “Shared pain” is not in their vocabulary.

    A total failure of leadership of this branch is now more than evident. Note that Vickrey states this was all with the knowledge and approval of the Chief Justice, evidently as Chair of the Judicial Council. I only wonder if other members of the Council were aware of this.

  27. told you so

  28. I work for the AOC. I know for sure now that the AOC (Chief, bill, ron, etc.) truly know that they “Can do what we want to do.”

    If there is no one to counter them, they will continue on. Why? Because they know that no one (that includes the state legislature, the state attorney general’s Office, etc.) is willing to attempt to do anything about it.

    I am convinced that only the voting citizentry can do something about it.