In the midst of California's financial woes, are all public agencies being equally frugal? The answer seems to be "no." The San Jose Mercury News reports that an audit has revealed poor oversight and waste within California's Judicial Council. The Council oversees the state's judiciary and is accused of needlessly spending approximately $30 million over the last four years. Those four years have been particularly challenging for courts throughout the state as budget shortfalls have led to cut-backs for nearly all government services.
A recent Fact Sheet released by the California State Auditor's Office includes the following: "Because of Questionable Fiscal and Operational Decisions, the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts Have Not Maximized the Funds Available for the Courts." The report goes on to detail waste and inefficiency. Perhaps most damning? Taxpayer funds may have been diverted from trial courts "many of which have cut public hours, laid off employees and in some instances closed satellite courthouses," the Mercury News reports.
Leaders of the Judicial Council and Administrative Office have acknowledged that problems do exist but that they are working diligently to address the lack of oversight and inefficiencies. For the benefit of the people of California, let's hope they achieve their goal soon.