OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: With the exception of the Wiley W. Manuel courthouse located in Oakland, all courthouses in Alameda County will be closed from Friday, December 23, 2016, through Monday, January 2, 2017.
NOTICE OF TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF COURT LOCATIONS For several years during the Recession, California’s trial courts were subject to severe budget reductions. But while the State’s economy has improved in recent years, only a small percentage of that funding has been restored. Further, certain courts—including the Superior Court of Alameda County (Court)—have been deemed to be “donor” courts, which means that large portions of the Court’s ongoing funding and any “new” monies restored to the courts through the budget process are actually diverted to other courts that have been deemed to be more under-resourced. In light of these factors, the Court began Fiscal Year 2016-2017 with a budget deficit of over $5,000,000. The Court has engaged in ongoing efforts to balance the budget by reducing costs. The many cost-saving solutions implemented by the Court include—but are not limited to—the following: • Eliminating a number of vacant staff positions; • Instituting a “hard freeze” of no less than 12 months on filling other positions;
• Instituting a “soft freeze” on all other positions, meaning that any vacant position will be kept vacant for no fewer than 90 days after it opens up;
• Reducing the use of outside contractors and consultants;
• Eliminating the use of overtime or comp time for staff except in certain very narrow instances; • Utilizing the entire 1% fund balance reserve that the Court is permitted to carry from year to year, thus eliminating any funding “safety net” for this year;
• Reducing expenditures on office supplies;
• Reducing printing costs by switching to a postcard format for jury summonses; and
• Deferring plans to move a juvenile courtroom from Oakland to San Leandro.
In addition, the Court has identified ways to save money on staff salaries—the Court’s largest item of expense—without having to resort to staff layoffs. Specifically, the Court is offering a Voluntary Time-Off Program (VTOP) for staff from December 23, 2016, through January 3, 2017. Staff who participate will take five business days off without pay, resulting in savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the Court regrets the impact these closures will have on the public’s access to justice, they represent the Court’s most viable option for addressing the dire economic circumstances imposed upon it and all other similarly situated “donor courts.”
Categorized in: Legal Procedure
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