Courts Give Pay Raises to Administrators While Shutting Down Courthouses

Columnist Lois Henry writes in The Bakersfield Californian: “I'm sure you will all be pleased to know that a bunch of state judicial bureaucrats just got a 3.5 percent raise while Kern County has closed down one of our outlying courts entirely, is preparing to shut another on all but a single day of the week, and continues to have to cut back hours that clerks can take filings or even talk to the public on the phone. Yup, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy too.”

Ms. Henry notes that California’s chief justice recently approved 3.5 percent raises for hundreds of employees at the Administrative Office of the Courts, Supreme Court and appellate courts.

Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe, executive director of the Alliance of California Judges, criticized the pay raises. “We've lost 2,500 jobs and had to close 80 courtrooms throughout the state, yet the oversight staff in San Francisco gets a pay raise,” he said. “It sends the wrong message.”

The Judicial Council, which oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts, said the pay increases are not “raises,” but rather “step increases” for employees advancing from one level to another. The council also defended the pay increases by saying the money doesn’t come out of the same pot as trial court funding. (Source: The Bakersfield Californian, August 27.)

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