Fresno: Union Blasts Court-Linked Supervisor Pay Hike

In Fresno County, the same judicial pay increase that raised eyebrows statewide is giving county supervisors more money. That pay hike comes after the supes took a hard line on rank-and-file salaries, and it happens because the county leaders years ago tied their salaries to judicial pay.
Last week, the Judicial Council of California and the state Judges Association sent out a memo to announce a 1.4% judicial pay increase. That same memo noted that a 4.5 percent hike is expected in the next year or so.
The Fresno supervisor raise brought sharp comment from a labor group, with the Fresno Bee newspaper quoting Alysia Bonner, a county employee and Region 4 vice president for SEIU Local 521: “It’s just incredible that they’d take another raise before they’d invest in Fresno… they constantly talk about cutting services and tightening belts, but they don’t have any trouble taking more money for doing less. They are part-time workers. The rest of us work for a living.” The union represents more than 4,000 county workers.
Read the Fresno Bee story by John Ellis here.

Admin Raises Amid Worker Layoffs Riles A Writer

Wow. We can add Lois Henry to the list of columnists who are less than thrilled with how California’s civil courts are being administered. The regular columnist for The Bakersfield Californian newspaper took exception to a decision to grant raises for some administrative staff while courtrooms and even entire courthouses are being closed. 
Noting that court budgets have taken “hit after hit” the writer adds “… but even worse, the courts’ own administrator, aptly known as the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), seems hell bent on spending what little money the Legislature has carved out for local courts on, well, administrative claptrap … it’s been a years-long problem that only recently received a withering eye from the Legislature as reports have uncovered unbelievable waste within the AOC. Still, California’s Chief Justice recently approved 3.5 percent raises for hundreds of AOC, appellate and Supreme Court employees.”
She also quotes Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe, who is also executive director of the Alliance of California Judges, a group she notes “… has struggled to shed light on how the AOC’s spending has affected the public’s right to access its court system.” Judge Lampe tells her that “… 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. It sends the wrong message.”