The ongoing money tiff between the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts kicked up a notch Monday with dueling press advisories.
L.A. court leaders are expected to formally announce plans Tuesday morning to lay off 329 employees, a move Presiding Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy has said will inevitably lead to courtroom closures.
“We are headed to a real disaster,” McCoy said during an interview last week on radio station KCRW’s “Which Way, L.A.?” program.
McCoy has forecast even more layoffs and court closures if the AOC doesn’t temporarily divert millions of dollars from its courthouse construction fund to trial court operations.
“Buildings, while important, are not as important as delivering justice day in and day out to people in the courthouse,” McCoy said on the radio broadcast.
The AOC responded indirectly Monday by announcing that a state panel had approved early work on courthouse renovation and new construction in Santa Barbara, Fresno and Willows.
Chief Justice Ronald George has argued adamantly that diverting construction money is not the answer to courts’ budget troubles, although he has said a final budget solution is likely to include a mix of new and higher filing fees plus the one-time use of various judicial funds.
In a brief appearance at the end of the “Which Way, L.A.?” program, AOC chief Bill Vickrey said that “from a financial perspective” the L.A. courts don’t need to lay off workers right now. “They may have other reasons for doing that,” he said, but didn’t suggest what those motivations might be.