Reductions in state support for the California judicial branch will affect hundreds of workers at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, including 177 employees who will be laid off Friday.
Court officials are still trying to figure out how the layoffs will affect the area locally.
“It’s across the entire county, and some people could be moved out and some could be moved in,” said Mary Hern, public information officer of the Los Angeles Superior Court, “It’s a very fluid situation.”
A budget committee of the California legislature agreed Monday evening to provide $60 million in new funding to the state trial courts. Close to a third of that funding may be provided to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Even if the additional funds are provided, the amount is insufficient to avoid the contraction of court size and services necessitated by budget cuts since 2008.
“It’s too little, too late, to stop the layoffs, or the reduction in access to justice that state funding cuts have produced,” said Judge David S. Wesley,” Although they give us hope that we will not have to make further cuts to staff or services in the foreseeable future.”
Decreases in state support for the California trial courts now total $725 million annually. The Los Angeles Superior Court must manage a structural budget deficit of $195 million.
Previous actions, including layoffs, hiring freezes, cuts in supplies and other cost-saving measures, have reduced the Court’s annual spending by $110 million, and Friday’s actions will reduce spending by nearly a half.
“Assuming that Governor Brown signs into law the budget increase proposed for the trial courts, our Court’s share will barely cover the remainder of our structural deficit,” said Wesley, “For the first time since the budget crisis began, we will have finally resolved our structural deficit.”
As of July 1, the Court will have eliminated 30 percent of its budgeted staff positions since 2002 – a 24 percent reduction since the state budget crisis began in 2008.
In all, 539 people are being impacted: one in seven employees. Notices to affected employees are being hand-delivered Friday.
– David Mariuz