Beset by an unprecedented budget crisis, the Los Angeles Superior Court – the nation’s largest trial court system – today laid off 329 employees and announced closure of 17 courtrooms, a number that is certain to grow.
The Court has a total of about 5,400 workers. It operates about 580 courtrooms.
In addition to the layoffs, the Court expects to close as many as 50 courtrooms by September, in addition to 17 already shut down or in the process of being closed. These 17 courtrooms are throughout the county, including at the Stanley Mosk, Clara Shortridge Foltz, Malibu, Hollywood, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, San Fernando and Central Civil West courthouses.
The layoffs are in addition to 156 voluntary departures through attrition that are projected during the 2009-10 fiscal year. The Court is currently in a hiring freeze. With layoffs and attrition, by June, a total of 485 jobs will be eliminated.
Still more layoffs are anticipated in 2010—as many as 500 by September.
The courtrooms to be eliminated span nearly the entire breadth of the Court’s work. They include courtrooms handling criminal, family law, general civil, limited civil, complex litigation and small claims caseloads.
Employees who have been laid off range from entry level clerks to secretaries, computer system workers and supervisors, court reporters and child advocacy specialists.
“Our Court’s deficit is $79.3 million in Fiscal Year 2009-10, and we have few means of achieving substantial savings other than staff reductions,” said Presiding Judge Charles W. “Tim” McCoy Jr.
“We have explored every financial scenario before taking this action, but more than 80 percent of our budget goes to salaries and benefits, which forces today’s drastic measures,” said McCoy. With annual budget deficits expected to be as high as $140 million over the next four years, up to 1,800 staff positions may be eliminated.
For additional details- http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/courtnews/Uploads/14201031611505110NRfinalLayoffMarch2010_1.htm