AOC Watcher’s Crystal Gavel Award Goes to…

If you’re a regular AOC Watcher reader, you’ve probably wondered what inspired me to start a blog about the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The answer to that is, like many things in life, rather complicated. But the main inspiration for my starting this blog is one man. And that man is Jack Urquhart.

Back in August I wrote a post about how Jack Urquhart, an AOC employee at the time, was so disturbed by the AOC’s spending for a conference for the Judicial Council he leaked the costs of the San Francisco event to the media. An article in the Daily Journal described the event and Mr. Urquhart’s actions for leaking the financial costs.

An 11-year veteran of the Administrative Office of the Courts said he was forced out of his job last month after admitting that he leaked information about a pricey judicial conference to the media.
Jack Urquhart, a senior court services analyst, said he acted out of frustration with significant costs racked up by the Judicial Council’s annual meeting in June. After telling a supervisor what he had done, Urquhart said, he was ushered to the human resources department and told that retirement was his only option.

“I didn’t argue, because it seemed to me the only other option was termination,” he said. Citing personnel policies, AOC spokesman Philip Carrizosa said he could not discuss Urquhart’s employment status or respond to his allegations.

Held at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco, the Judicial Council’s three-day conference featured high-priced facilitators, a catered dinner at the California Academy of Sciences and guest rooms — including a presidential suite — for out-of-town attendees. The total price tag for the event was more than $86,000.

“It occurred to me that we could find a cheaper way to stage this meeting,” Urquhart said. The AOC could have held the conference at its San Francisco headquarters, he said, instead of spending $42,000 for meeting halls, on-site meals and hotel rooms at the Hilton.

For his actions Mr. Urquhart was quickly shown the door and forced into an early retirement. That’s when it became clear to me that Mr. Urquart had fallen victim to an agency that appeared to be more interested in its self-preservation and maintenance of the status quo. A status quo where the AOC stood unchallenged and unquestioned.  And any other AOC employee who dared to get in the way of the AOC would be treated the same as Mr. Urquart because the AOC was confident in the knowledge that its own employees were not protected by whistleblower laws.

Yes, the AOC’s overly confident, and some would argue smug, position has had the very opposite effect.  For now current employees are filing suits against the agency for the way it has treated them.  Another whistleblower dealt the agency a major blow in revealing it was assigning work for courthouse maintenance to unlicensed contractors.  A legislative committee held a hearing in Sacramento in October over the AOC.  Two legislators have now come forward promising to introduce legislation to ensure AOC employees are covered by whistleblower laws.  Judges are now stepping up and speaking out against some of the AOC’s policies and positions. The media is taking a closer look at the agency as well giving it a scrutiny that it has never faced before.

And the man that I believe started it all, a man who became a catalyst for the work to bring much wished for reform for the AOC, and served as an inspiration for my starting this blog, is Jack Urquhart.  A man who saw a wrong and sought to bring the public’s attention to it.  A man whose actions, if I may borrow a phrase from the AOC itself, have served all Californians and may eventually benefit the courts.

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60 responses to “AOC Watcher’s Crystal Gavel Award Goes to…

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Here Here! A well deserved award!

  2. Claire Voyant

    Thank you for doing this AOC-W. Not many of us can say that we have shaken both Judge Tim McCoy’s and Jack Urquhart’s hand, but I have and I can tell you a true fact: both of these individuals are wise and great men.

  3. Douglas Denton

    Wow, is this going to make e-news? Whatever your feelings are about AOC-Watcher or the AOC, Jack is a great man. He is deeply missed.

  4. Certainly Mr. Urquhart should be on the short list.

    On June 24-26th of 2009 there was a two day conference at the Hillton Hotel in San Francisco put on by the AOC. The topic of the conference was the California Judicial Budget Crisis.

    A reporter called Jeff Ackerman from The Union, which serves Western Nevada County,wrote an article about this conference on July 21, 2009. In this article he pointed out that the taxpayer had spent $40,000.00 on facilitators for the meeting. He also pointed out, amongst other things, that a member of the judiciary had spent a night in the Presidential Suite of the Hilton. This suite, I am told, costs $2000.00 a night. If anyone is interested you can go into the archives of this blog and read the article. It will be well worth your time.

    As I understand it Mr. Urquhart had the audacity to reveal to the public, i.e. Mr Ackerman, as to how the AOC was spending taxpayer money. Mr. Urquhart is no longer with the AOC having been fired, ordered to retire, or whatever.

    I believe this article and the AOC’s reaction to it has been one of the reasons we have this blog; why we have the ACJ; why we now have members of the AOC revealing AOC misdeeds; why we have the new President of the CJA resisting the AOC; why we have some Justices and judges refusing to give their money to the AOC; and why we have a Legislature which appears to be very skeptical of the information it receives from the AOC.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Oh the irony of it all. An 82K conference to discuss the California Judicial Budget crisis.

      Raises given to 80 senior managers and execs at a time when everyone else is asked to give up 5% of their pay

      It goes on
      and on
      and on
      and on
      and on

  5. I do not personally know Mr. Jack Urquhart. However, I still have great admiration for this man! He seems to possess the type of qualities I would expect to see in leadership. Odd how we seem to have a reversal of roles when we consider these qualities in behavior. Thank you Mr. Urquhart! I’m sorry you had to experience, first hand, the inequities so commonly dished out by the AOC.

  6. Nicely said Douglas. Welcome back.
    Say, wasn’t there a John Mellencamp top 40 tune about Jack and the AOC brass that he played sidekick to? How did it go?

    “Little ditty about Jack and Di _ _ _
    2 American kids growin’ up in the heartland…
    Oh yeah life goes on …
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone…”

    Goes to show what happens when you cross the brass. Get booted right out of the hit parade.

  7. I liked that song, Oldtimer. Good call AOC-W in this nomination. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack of all trades, Jack in a box. Jack who shared roses, swapped kid stories, bible verses and could still cuss like a sailor. Jack who always said please and thank you. We miss you.

  8. Hey Eunice, I got a rose once way back when I was still working in EOP. It magically appeared one morning on my desk. Guess I know who to thank now. Thanks, Jack.

  9. The unicorns have always know that Jack was the brilliant light behind the Judicial Council’s strategic and operational plans. He is a gentle and kind soul.

  10. Thank you Judge Maino for recognizing that knowledge and change can emerge from unfortunate events. I resisted this blog for many months, but ultimately decided it was essential reading. I hope Mr. Urquhart is well.

  11. Former AOC staffer

    Jack well deserves the award for his courage. Let us not forget who his supervisor was, Dianne Bolotte. After years as her “go-to” staffer, after promoting Jack four times in three years, she turned on him and escorted him to HR. There must be a special place for Dianne.

  12. I wish to make a correction. The AOC did not pay $2000.00 for the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Hotel in July of 2009. They paid only the regular room rate of $138.00 for this suite.

    Evidently when one books a certain number of rooms the Hilton offers this suite at the same rate as the booked rooms.

    I regret any embarassment my comments about this rate for the Presidential Suite may have caused the Judicial Council, the AOC, or any members of the Judicial Council or the AOC.

  13. moneywatcher

    Judge Maino

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. While the suite may have been at a discounted rated, there is still the issue of appearances. This all could have been avoided if the JC held a a one-day meeting that didn’t require overnight lodging or chose to use existing technology and held the meeting via satellite broadcast or WebEX.

    The fact remains, the AOC spent $80K to hold a two-day onference to discuss budget issues during the most serious economic crisis the state has faced in over 70 years. I know there may have been money in the AOC budget for the conference and all of the expenditures were consistent with existing policy, however that does not mean it was handeled appropriately or justifies the conference ever occurring. I don’t believe anyone is contending the $80K expense was not authorized or would have made any impact on the funds available to support trial court or AOC operations. However, the decision to go forward with the conference showed a complete lack of awareness of how the expenditure would be perceived by others. While $80K is not much in the context of the overall budget, it is a tremendous amout to a clerk who is a single parent making $35k/year and facing 12 furlough days.

    Based on Mr. Vickery’s explanation of the AOC personnel compensation dust up, it appears he wants everyone to know AOC managment is aware of the impact of the budget cuts on the courts and their employees. The memo goes into detail about the fact employees received only 3.5% salary increases as opposed to some courts who gave 5% pay increases to their employees. He also talked about the AOC’s voluntary furlough program, etc.

    However, a two-day “budget” conference, which included booking enough rooms at a downtown hotel to qualify for the presidential suite, hiring “facilitators”, and having a cocktail party/dinner at a SF Museum, is more than a little inconsistent with the intended message of shared sacrifice.

    Additionally, what was the product of this “budget” conference? It couldn’t have been court closures as that idea had been floating around for months prior. What tangible benefit to the judicial branch did this meeting produce?

  14. Well said Moneywatcher. And let’s not forget that, as the quoted article above says, the AOC has very nice meeting facilities in its San Francisco offices, including an auditorium and meeting rooms. An $80K unnecessary expense is just that. Unnecessary. Judge Maino shouldn’t worry. What the AOC did last summer was plain dumb. Appearances do matter.

  15. moneywatcher

    eunicelmn

    Thanks. I forgot to mention the most important point in terms of how the conference was judged in the court of public perception. The only reason we are even talking about it is that Jack Uruqhat brought it to the attention of a reporter. Had Jack not done that, the conference would have been a non-issue as no one, other than the attendees, seemed to know much about it. When the news about the conference came out in the paper rather than from the AOC/JC, it appeared there was some effort to hide, or at least not offer any information about, the fact the conference even took place. I am not sure what is worse – the AOC intentionally suppressing any news about the conference, or not being able to anticipate the reaction of the courts, media and public if news of the conference was “leaked”.

  16. Moneywatcher: thank you for the support.

    The information that I was wrong in my post re the $2000.00 a night Presidential Suite proved to me that members of the Judicial Council and the AOC do read this blog.

    Let us hope that they read this blog with an open mind. Let us hope that when they make an error,as I did, that they be willing to admit it. So far we have not seen much of that.

  17. The unicorns become even more beautiful when a judge lays down the law.

  18. Jack is a great guy. We, who know him, all agree on this. His quick departure was made public. Many employees are shown the door, rush to get to the door or are hassled so much by management that they become despondent, crushed and give up after doing good work for the branch and the people of the state. There are dozens of former employees like Jack.

    Let me give you an example. The HR office is the vortex of all the personnel actions within the AOC. The management team of the HR division are no more that thugs. During the first 36 months of the hiring of the current HR director, Mr. Fuentes, there as been nearly a 100 percent turnover in that division alone. Fifty four HR employees left or were run out. Some have filed lawsuits. I’d like to learn the cost to the AOC for outside counsel, just in personnel matters, just for the HR division. It’s an incredible situation. It has not been pretty. It’s embarrassing that it is not only a governmental agency but the judicial branch. Shameful. Let’s all hope the ACJ, CJA and most importantly the Legislature can turn this ship of fools around.

  19. joshmadisonn

    Here, here, Aequitas. There are some very competent, helpful employees in AOC HR. Lord knows how they manage to survive under such “leadership”. As anyone who has ever been around their infamous director knows, the guy is so shifty he can’t even sit still when seated. You are so right. It’s a shameful situation.

  20. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    ‘The Goons of HR’ are infamous and are the impetus of all that happens today, not unlike in their previous roles they were urged to take departure from, with sighs of relief and follow-up statements like, “getting rid of him was the best thing that ever happend to this” Agency / District / County where they also left a wake of litigation in their respective paths.

    That figure being spent to defend the AOC against the goons of HR must be approaching three million dollars and counting and has resulted in “ghost employees” and many the non-disclosure agreement.

    According to the rules, our friend from the south who usurped control and ceeded no oversight to one in the must make approvals for certain costly litigation and to date has permitted those dollars to flow freely and generously.

    What a waste of human talent.

    What a waste of money.

    Those front-line employees that serve under the goons are precious to those that work in the AOC. It’s really too bad that we must learn about the goons of HR not through those that serve us well but through the actions and lawsuits of others that we hold in great esteem.

    As the council of the jedi has told those that are precious hold on, change is on the way and it appears it will be exposed far sooner than it is imposed.

    The goons of HR are the ultimate in symbolism of the lack of leadership at the AOC, for it is these failed leaders that intentionally sought out people like the goons of HR to do their handiwork so it would appear that their hands remained clean.

    We all know better now.

  21. I know I’ll be pilloried for making another appearance here, but I’m sorry, I just don’t get why Urquhart, or anyone else, should be celebrated for “blowing the whistle” on what was a once-a-year, relatively inexpensive meeting that afforded some valuable opportunities for the council to interact with fiscal experts. I know because Urquhart’s former boss, the Queen of EOP, deigned to permit a few of us non-EOPers to attend the opening plenary of that meeting last June. What I witnessed there was a lively exchange of ideas between council members and a representative from the LAO. These were not the kind of exchanges that video conferencing could have accommodated, and since nobody else has seen fit to mention it, I will: even if the meeting had been staged in the AOC’s meeting facilities, it would still have been necessary to house the attendees in local hotels. Granted, Urquhart was a nice guy. He composed literate emails, answered his phone messages, smiled and nodded at us in the elevator, apparently even flung roses to the oppressed, but that doesn’t necessarily add up to good judgment. Go ahead and hand out your crystal gavels to these whistle-toting blowhards if you must. Maybe they’ll use them to rap some sense into their heads. It could happen.

  22. Your are right, OCOMON. Consider yourself pilloried, accompanied with 100 lashes!

  23. RegularReader

    AOC-W readers beware!
    More than one person can submit comments under the same name or byline. This is one such example of a deceitful submission.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      The latest ocomeon is not as eloquent as the previous ocomeon although I suspect they both stepped off the same ship of fools.

  24. RegularReader

    I refer to this morning’s comment by “ocomeon” above.

  25. ocomeon: From YOUR VERY OWN WORDS, you admit you fail to recognize the actions of, or need for, whistleblowers…nor have an appreciation for the risk they take and/or the price they pay in coming forward to do the right thing. If your thoughts are illustrative of the JC/AOC leadership stance, and I suggest they most definitely are, it explains why there has been, and continues to be, a lack of adequate whistleblower procedure/protection within the AOC.

    Instead, you make the specious argument that spending over $80K was the right thing to do when, in reality, that conference could have easily been conducted for $10K (or much less)….and with the very same exact outcome.

    Speaking of outcome…with the “valuable opportunities for the council to interact with fiscal experts” and “a lively exchange of ideas between council members and the representative from the LAO” that you mentioned above, please remind me again…..what *WAS* the meaningful outcome of that particular conference? Please enlighten me because, for some reason, I’m unable to see how an additional 70 grand expenditure benefited the taxpayers! I highly doubt you would be suggesting this was a “relatively inexpensive meeting” if the funds were coming out of your own personal pocket.

    As a side note, if we take the total expense of that conference and divide it up among the number of attendees, it surely far, far exceeds any statutory per diem rates that would normally apply to expenses! But, alas, the AOC is exempt from any and all rules and regulations that the rest of us are required to follow, and God forbid that any of us question the AOC’s highly questionable spending habits!

    Regardless, thank you so much for posting again, ocomeon, for you have a way of driving the clarity home for me, personally but, as I mentioned earlier….I doubt it’s in the manner you intend. Please, carry on….

  26. AnOutsideObserver

    While I’m not interested in pillaring anyone, I am moved to respond to what previous posts had to say about the June meeting that triggered Mr. Urquhart’s whistle blowing. I also attended the June meeting as an outside observer and actually briefly met Mr. Urquhart and several of his very attentive colleagues at that event. It is true that there was much “lively interaction” among the attendees and panelists, and everyone seemed genuinely interested in finding ways to cope with the state’s fiscal crisis. But that isn’t all I remember about the meeting. For example, on the first evening, a lavish and poorly attended buffet reception was held, which struck me as unfortunate since the AOC’s web site where I had been directed for registration required me to rsvp for every meal. I noticed the same thing the next day at lunch where many tables set with a plated lunch were completely empty. Where were the attendees who had registered for these meals? I inquired of a gentleman seated at my sparsely attended table. His lighthearted reply, “probably off seeing Chinatown”, which was a few blocks away. Another lunch companion that day casually mentioned that the previous year’s meeting in Napa had been held at a nicer hotel.

    The other thing I remember about the meeting last June is the several references to cocktail functions (obscurely referred to as Ohleeries) apparently held for the council in that now famous presidential suite. While I’m sure these weren’t paid for from state funds, and judges certainly deserve to relax in their off hours the same as anyone else, it did seem strange to hear the plenary session moderator bantering with audience members in open session about the previous evening’s “Ohleerie” in a manner that jokingly implied a few attendees were still feeling its effects. I remember this particular exchange because when it took place, Mr. Urquhart and a diminutive female colleague were hovering at the rear of the auditorium near where I was seated and both of them winced. Presumably they did so because the joking seemed inappropriate to the theme of the event printed on the cover of the meeting’s binder. I still have my copy from last June, and this is what it says: “Strategic Leadership in a Challenging Fiscal Environment”. Maybe the AOC’s meeting wasn’t in the same category as a Bernie Madoff spectacle, but to anyone who can’t understand why a state employee would be moved to blow a whistle, I should think that caption says it all.

  27. Good going, Mermaid.

  28. Not sure I’m following you, Regular Reader, but God knows one Ocomeon is more than enough. Come to think of it, I remember another “Eunice” here some time back. This one is the real thing.

  29. joshmadisonn

    Outside Observer hits the nail on the head. You are so right on, O-O. Th at June meeting binder caption says it all. “Strategic Leadership in a Challenging Fiscal Environment.” Exactly what the AOC isn’t providing.

  30. ocomeon:

    The fact that you would take the time to describe a real person in such an insulting way is depressing to me. The issue is that he should not have been encouraged to retire. The Queen you refer to is the one who ultimately exhibited the larger error in bad judgement. But no one will admit it and it’s another lawsuit.

  31. Claire Voyant

    ” it did seem strange to hear the plenary session moderator bantering with audience members in open session about the previous evening’s “Ohleerie” in a manner that jokingly implied a few attendees were still feeling its effects”

    Was Clark Kelso the (always) inappropriately chosen June moderator? The man is a buffoon. I am stunned by the painful accuracy of that post, but I am even more stunned that we are forever learning more about the whacked out world of the Judicial Council via a blog. Good grief.

  32. Thank you AnOutsideObserver. You are the first person who had written down what you actually observed at the meeting June 24-26 in San Francisco. After the meeting there was an article by Mr. Jeff Ackerman in the Union. The publication of this article resulted in the firing of Mr. Urquhart which then resulted in AOC Watcher starting this blog. AOC Watcher now recommends Mr. Urquhart for an award.

    Mr. Ackerman’s article appeared in the Union on July 21,2009. You can read it yourself by going to the August Archives in this blog and then go back to August 14th.

    When Diogenes read this article he/she thought it was a joke. Mr. Ackerman mentioned that California was 26 billion in the red but that the AOC had put on a two day conference called, “California Judicial Branch Judicial Crisis” which consisted of about 25 participants out of 70 staying at the Hilton Hotel. $40,000.00 was spent for facilitators. $10,000.00 for a facilitator for a “group hug”. $42,000.00 for meeting rooms.
    $6000.00 for a cocktail party. The cocktail party in the article was called the “O’Leary Reception” while AnOutsideObserver called it an “Ohleerie”. It now appears to Diogenes that Mr. Ackerman’s article was no joke.

    Recently we have been told that the Judicial Council and the AOC are completely transparent operations as to where they spend money. Let us test that proposition.

    Will the Chief Justice, Justice Huffman, Mr. Vickrey, the Judicial Council or the AOC answer the following questions:

    1.Who attended this meeting?

    2. Who were the facilitators?

    3. How much were they paid?

    4. How many judges and/or members of the conference spent two nights at the Hilton Hotel? If 25 people spent two nights at the hotel at the rate of $138.00 a night the hotel bill should be about $6850.00. Was it?

    5. Who paid for the O’Leary aka Ohleerie cocktail party? Was it the taxpayer? Was it some private person or foundation?

    Could I suggest that you provide your expected answers to Assemblyman DeLaTorre who is still awaiting answers to some questions he and his committee had when they met with you last year?

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      The AOC is counting on political maneuvering to get off the hook. They believe they have already been called on the carpet by DeLaTorre’s committee and it would be unprecedented for DeLaTorre to call back the AOC.

      Furthermore, they never intended to provide many of the answers to the questions asked – again, relying on political maneuvering to override any and all dissent. This is what they have successfully accomplished for years and zebras rarely change stripes. As I recall, these answers were to be provided to the committee by December. Now there are entirely new revelations that were not exposed previously, like the use and apparent intentional steering of grossly overpriced work to unlicensed contractors that to this very moment, continues unabated.

      What we’re discussing here is a figure of over 300 million dollars that has vaporized and the AOC remains tight lipped about how over 300 million dollars is being accounted for referring only about 40 million of that 300 million out to the AG for a lawsuit.

      300 million dollars that could have kept courthouses open across the state.

      In our humble opinion, not one more meeting needs to be established with the committee on accountability – but at least two more meetings need to be established. With all of the recent revelations, we seriously doubt that the AOC will be able to muster supporters like they did before and two more scheduled meetings scheduled back to back, month to month would put them on notice that both the legislature and the public demand answers.

      Answers that we assure you will not be forthcoming without those two meetings being scheduled.

  33. I guess I just wonder why if this was such an important meeting with such meanful exchange, why were the PJs/Justices and CEOs not invited to attend?

    On another note, perhaps moderator was part of Mr. Kelso’s scholar in residence duties?

    Jack is a great guy that was always diplomatic. The fact that he chose to whistleblow tells me volumes that there is much wrong at the AOC. We miss you Jack.

  34. Kelso is a giant liability for anyone right now who has the press on their tail about spending.

    http://calitics.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=8309

  35. The AOC has made it clear that not one cent of AOC money goes to Mr. Kelso’s salary.

    If Mr. Kelso was at the conference it is certain that he would have been paid. If he did receive any money from the AOC for being at the conference this would cast grave doubt on the truthfulness of the AOC. We who work for the AOC cannot ask for such information.

    Can AnOutsideObserver tell us whether he/she saw Mr. Kelso at the conference?

  36. Kelso has been the moderator for a number of the June conferences (this is not a trade secret, it’s common knowledge). He may have done this as a “favor,” but he likely helped himself to buffet and hotel services and drinks and access to the AOC and bench officers. He already makes such a large salary that the appearance is the perception is the problem (why was Clark Kelso of all people moderating the planning activities of the judicial branch?).

  37. PS, John Q. Public can ask the AOC for all contracts with, travel expense claims submitted by, or payments made to Clark Kelso.

  38. joshmadisonn

    Mary, back in 2007 when I was assigned to EOP, Kelso moderated the June annual planning meeting that was held out at UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center and I know that he wasn’t paid any fee. My understanding is that he has moderated every annual planning meeting since then. My guess is that the AOC picks up his hotel and travel expenses, but those who work in AOC Secretariat would know better than I.

  39. Thank you Josh. I think this information will be of more interest to the Governor and the Legislature than to anyone in the AOC. Kelso is associated with giant, wasteful spending.

  40. I just can’t get my head around Kelso doing anything for free. Perhaps he did not receive cash, but perhaps something else? Political favors perhaps? To me Kelso appears to be the pubic equivalent of a corporate raider.

  41. First Name J CLARK
    Last Name KELSO
    Agency or University JUDICIAL COUNCIL
    Job Title FEDERAL COURT CONSULTANT
    Base Pay $224,004.00

    He is not doing anything for free, Mr. Flea.

  42. Claire Voyant

    The AOC has deluded itself into thinking that because they don’t pay Kelso’s salary, it somehow makes him untouchable. He can get away with saying that CCMS is great, or that all that money that has gone to Deloitte is somehow worth it, but that he himself has nothing to do with the project. Does he still work for the Judicial Council? What does he do for the judicial branch?

  43. Claire:

    I think “AOC scholar-in-residence” was code for “I need an office” because the Governor can’t stand Kelso. I have never understood what the heck a scholar in residence at the AOC does, but don’t get me started on Roger Warren and all of his pet projects that get funded but go nowhere. Funny that all this talk about waste is ending up in the Jack Urquhart thread … I hope the man is smiling.

  44. Oh goodie! So it’s Professor Kelso we’re stoking up the fire for these days. Well then, let’s go for it: what a disgrace his ‘gratis’ services to the judicial branch over the years (fyi friend Flea, ‘gratis’ = “free”)! Scandalous that he should deign to partake of a JC box lunch now and then! Just think of the starving hoards in Marin who might have benefited! And let’s not forget his shameful arrogance in touting CCMS to the press. What expertise can he boast on the matter anyway? Why, you’d think Kelso had been named by Computerworld to their list of “Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2007” or something! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am truly shocked and appalled that anyone should think to devote their life to civil and professorial service in the cause of responsible government and quality justice! Who does Kelso think he is anyway, a public servant or something? I say pile on the briquettes! Let’s have a barbecue.

  45. Mary, $224,004 is Kelso’s base salary! I’d think you were kidding if I didn’t know the system better.

  46. PattyJaneSmith

    We ALL know Clark Kelso has benefitted, been paid and enjoyed many perks from his association with the AOC and Judicial Council. Honestly, I really don’t care about that. It is the cheap attempt to feign credibility by using your scholar in residence as if he were an independent and knowlegable source that I find galling. I have nothing against Clark Kelso. Let’s just be honest and admit he has incredible allegiances and he ‘took one for the team’. We all just believe he’s playing for the wrong team because we know someone of them cheat, lie, waste taxpayer money, abuse their employees and have violated the public’s trust. And then have the audacity to act self righteous about their arrogant and wrong behavior. I don’t like it and think it is simply wrong. That is my opinion.

    • Special Prosecutor

      Agreed PJS. But karma catches up with people. From a 2007 article:

      “Kelso says he prefers the idea of helping agencies in crisis and then leaving after they are back on track rather than simply running a department that already operates smoothly. “I enjoy the risk that comes with major organizational change and crisis management,” Kelso says, “and I think I happen to be pretty decent at it.”

      I think the scholar is going to have a hard time living down that quote. Ditto endorsing CCMS.

  47. PattyJaneSmith

    Ocomeon1 – I enjoy reading your posts they’re witty and pithy whether I agree with you or not. I hope you keep posting because I actually do enjoy reading all of the differing views. Please note, I did not call Clark Kelso a liar, cheater, etc because I happen to believe he is not. It is some of his ‘teammates’ that I meant to apply those references to

  48. Claire Voyant

    Was Clark the scholar in residence at the AOC in June 2007, when the Deloite contract was signed? Interesting. That would indeed be karma if the guy Gray Davis appointed to be the CIO after the Oracle scandlal ends up at the House of Pancakes where they did the exact same thing in the Oracle case, but with Deloitte (no-bid contract, $95 million). Live and learn. Or not. Sweet dreams.

  49. Kelso was scholar in residence in 2001-2002. But he was emcee of the planning meeting in 2007. As the kids say, you are getting hotter.

  50. Mary, According to my old JC meeting binders, Kelso was also the emcee in 2006 and 2005. I think he may even have served in that role in years previous to 2005.

  51. Notice how artfully Clark disavows any responsbility for CCMS (like everyone on the AOC payroll):

    “From 2002 to 2007, I served as the state’s chief information officer but was not responsible for information technology in the legislative or judicial branches. During my tenure, we moved out of the shadow of the Oracle procurement scandal, adopted the state’s first strategic plan for information technology, began a consolidation of information technology resources (saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars), successfully completed the largest information technology project in state history (the $1.4 billion child support project), and avoided the costly mistakes made in the 1990s when the state suffered a series of very costly failures.”

    Deloitte is another Oracle.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      By all appearances the Oracle deal got pushed over to the AOC. Not only do they use Deloitte, they’re prolific users of Oracle and several in the AOC IT department have an Oracle background.

  52. Special Prosecutor

    Has the AOC come up with figures for the Legislature that show exactly how much money has been paid to Deloitte for the multiple iterations and vagaries of CCMS?

  53. Special, if you include V4 deployment, I think we are talking $800-900 million in past and future payments to Deloitte for CCMS, give or take a several million. But that is only an estimate. I am sure the project director can provide you or the Legislature with up to date information.

  54. Ocomeon1: thank you for the vocabulary lesson. Seeing that word next to Mr. Kelso’s name must have thrown me.