SACRAMENTO — State judicial leaders on Thursday announced that they will eliminate a number of executive perks in response to a recent audit that criticized branch administrators for spending lavishly on salaries, benefits and consultants during years of bleak budget-cutting in the courts.
The move marks the first substantive response by the judiciary to Auditor Elaine Howle's January report, which concluded that the branch's administrative arm, known until recently as the Administrative Office of the Courts, may have wasted tens of millions of dollars that could have gone to trial courts that were shuttering courthouses and slashing public service hours.
Martin Hoshino, administrative director of the Judicial Council, outlined a handful of policy changes at the council's meeting Thursday that he said would address about one-third of the auditor's recommendations. Among the changes:
- The branch will eliminate 22 vehicles from its 66-car fleet and institute new rules governing the use of the remaining leased and owned vehicles. The audit found that the AOC never justified the existence or size of the fleet and that some executives were driving the cars for personal use as much as 80 percent of the time. The remaining cars in the fleet are driven by real estate and maintenance workers who need them for frequent travel to work sites, Hoshino said.
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