Officials from the Los Angeles Superior Court said 157 employees were hand-delivered pink slips Friday morning in a dramatic cost-cutting effort.
“This is the unfortunate human impact of the need to reduce our spending by $30 million,” said Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon. “We are laying off people who are committed to serving the public. It is a terrible loss both to these dedicated employees and to the public.”
While some employees are being laid-off, overall 431 court staff will have their employment altered affecting 56 courtrooms.
Locally, Department 4 of the Santa Clarita Courthouse has already been dark since court closures were announced in April.
In addition to the 157 layoffs, 108 people will lose 40 percent of their salaries when they are moved to a three-day-per-week schedule, 86 people will lose between 5 percent and 40 percent of their salary when they are reclassified to lower-level positions, and 80 people are being transferred to new jobs, and typically new locations, because their old jobs have been eliminated.
At the end of the day Friday, the Superior Court will have reduced the number of budgeted positions by 23 percent since 2002.
The Superior Court says the latest cuts are part of an ongoing series of reductions that began in April of 2010 and will continue:
“The reductions made to date already saved $70 million. The current actions will save another $30 million. Despite these cuts, the Court faces future additional shortfalls as more reductions in state support for the trial courts are proposed for the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget.”
“There will be more cuts next year, and their impacts will be severe. The current cuts already affect the core work of court – the judge in the courtroom – while significant budget shortfalls remain. Given the significance of our responsibilities to protect public safety and children, the next round of reductions will further limit our ability to hear civil cases,” said Assistant Presiding Judge David Wesley.
* Eliminating courtroom staffing in 56 courtrooms will save $6.8 million, a change that affects courtrooms in civil (24 courtrooms affected), criminal (24), family law (3), probate (1) and juvenile (4). The changes to the affected courtrooms have been underway for the past several weeks; they are already being felt across the county.
* Eliminating the Superior Court’s Informal Juvenile Traffic courts will save $4.8 million and will result in the closure of 11 additional courtrooms.
* Reducing court reporter services will save $10.3 million. These changes began affecting civil courtrooms on May 15, when court-employed reporters were no longer available for civil trials.
* Eliminating 110 management, clerical and administrative positions outside of the courtrooms will save $8.2 million. These impacts will be felt across the Superior Court system, from clerk’s windows across the county, to central administrative functions.