Interesting story from the Humboldt Sentinel:
“What the hell did you do with all that money?” a California legislator asked.
That’s a good question. It vanished.
California legislators laid into the administrative bureaucracy of California’s courts at a hearing in the capitol on Wednesday, where State Auditor Elaine Howle presented a highly critical audit documenting the bureaucracy’s waste of hundreds of millions of dollars that should have gone to keeping the courts running during the state’s long-running budget crisis.
“There’s probably close to $2 billion that have been pushed into the courts. So the real question is, ‘What the hell did you do with that money?’” Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer said, the audit’s legislative sponsor.
At the hearing’s outset, Jones-Sawyer said that when he joined the State Assembly two years ago, the Legislature and the governor had already begun to pour a cumulative total of $2 billion back into the judiciary’s coffers as the California economy began to turn around, and he has not seen any fundamental change in the judicial bureaucracy.
”I’m not comfortable that there’s been any accountability,” said Jones-Sawyer. ”There seems to be relatively no oversight, and there’s no transparency.”
An audit pointed to an excessive $30 million spent over a four-year period on salaries for employees of the judicial bureaucracy, the Administrative Office of the Courts, as well as $386 million spent by the AOC over four years on statewide services that nearly half of California’s 58 trial courts don’t use, including $186 million on private contractors and consultants.
“Despite budget shortfalls and budget cuts, the AOC continued to provide its employees with unreasonably high salaries and generous benefits. There is a disconnect about what the AOC is doing and what the courts need,” Howle said, testifying Wednesday before a panel of state lawmakers. She added, “There has not been much progress in key areas.
Thanks to the Humboldt Sentinel for the info. For the full story: