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Judicial Branch Procurement
Some Superior Courts Generally Followed Requirements but Could Improve Their Procurement Practices

Report Number: 2018-301

January 15, 2019

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

Pursuant to Chapter 31, Statutes of 2013, the California State Auditor presents this audit report assessing five superior courts’ compliance with the requirements of the California Judicial Branch Contract Law (Judicial Contract Law), Public Contract Code sections 19201 through 19210. The Judicial Contract Law requires the Judicial Council of California (Judicial Council) to adopt and publish a Judicial Branch Contracting Manual, which establishes the requirements and recommended practices for procurement and contracting that all judicial branch entities, including superior courts, must follow. The Judicial Council published its latest version of the manual in 2018.

This report concludes that the five courts we reviewed for this audit—the superior courts in Imperial, Los Angeles, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara counties—adhered to most required and recommended procurement practices that we evaluated, but they could improve. For example, the Santa Clara court did not have an agreement on file for certain services it purchased, and it lacked appropriate documentation for three other contracts. The other four courts also lacked appropriate documentation for one contract each. In addition, staff at the Monterey court approved seven payments that exceeded their payment authorization limits by amounts ranging from $2,000 to more than $107,000. We also identified one instance in which the Imperial court processed a payment without appropriate prior written approval, and the Santa Barbara court’s payment process lacked a documentation step that would increase the court’s assurance that payments are appropriate.

Respectfully submitted,

California State Auditor

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