For Raw Court Coverage, Watch ‘Judicial Council Watcher

For anyone seeking a more “raw” and reliably skeptical view of the ongoing trial court budget crisis, a decent place to visit is the “Judicial Council Watch.” They recently noted that the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) wants to “augment their own staff” while many court jobs are being eliminated and many workers laid off. It might also be news to many that the spending debate, which seemed over once the governor signed the budget, still continues.
The website puts it thus: “By way of background, after the Legislature passes the state budget bill and the Governor signs it, entities of state government can present budget change proposals [BCP] to the Department of Finance which request additional funding for programs or projects deemed essential and for which insufficient funding has been appropriated. Sometimes the BCP is approved and other times the Department of Finance might request additional information or simply deny the request altogether. Generally speaking, you can identify an entity’s priorities by reviewing what BCP’s they are submitting.”
The Watch links to a 21-minute audio presentation by the courts Chief Administrative Officer, Curt Soderlund. The site maintains the presentation reflects “the branch’s priorities,” including a “Blue Ribbon Commission.”
To this the website offers some comment: “Seriously? We are at a loss to understand why our branch leadership would use what little political capital they may still have to feather their own nests while ignoring the fact that thousands of trial court employees have already lost their jobs. It is clear, however, that restoring funding for our local court staff did not make the cut on the AOC’s wish-list.”
Talk a longer walk on the courts journalism wild side here.