Friday, the Judicial Council of California voted unanimously to approve recommendations to reaffirm Judicial Council authority over the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), restructure the AOC, and endorse a plan for monthly monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations.
In May, the Strategic Evaluation Committee (SEC) recommended to the Judicial Council that that the AOC "must refocus on providing service to the courts; that a fundamental restructuring of the organization is needed; that the AOC must be down-sized to correspond with its core functions; and that its internal processes need to be improved."
It seems that the Judicial Council heeded that advice.
The SEC committee report presented Friday addressed all 151 SEC recommendations. Under the adopted reorganization, three officials within the executive office, (the chief administrative officer, chief of staff, and chief operating officer), will report to the administrative director of the courts. Each will head one of three divisions, creating a clear chain of authority on the AOC organizational chart, reports Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
"Of the recommendations that were submitted by the SEC, almost 1,000 percent were accepted," said Presiding Judge Brian L. McCabe of the Superior Court of Merced, SEC Vice-Chair. "If you figure out statistically what those numbers are, those are not only all-star numbers, they are hall-of-fame numbers. I thought the [Executive and Planning Committee] (E&P) process was methodical, thoughtful, and thorough. The SEC members were active participants in the process."
The SEC members seem delighted with this result. (There are plenty of enthusiastic comments in the Judicial Council's press release, we just like the "1000 percent" best.) As the changes are implemented, they'll be able to keep close tabs on the AOC because three of the SEC E&P members -- Placer Superior Court Judge Charles Wachob, McCabe, and SEC member and Riverside Superior Court Judge Sherrill Ellsworth -- have been appointed to the Judicial Council, starting September 15. Wachob and McCabe will be advisory members and Ellsworth a voting member, reports the Metropolitan News-Enterprise.
- What Will the SEC Report Mean for AB 1208, AOC? (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)
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- California Judges Want Reform...Now! (FindLaw's California Case Law Blog)