Report I2019-2 Recommendation 4 Responses

Report I2019-2: Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees: Inefficient Management of State Resources, Misuse of State Time and Inaccurate Attendance Records, and Inadequate Supervision (Release Date: April 2019)

Case Number I2017-0405

Recommendation #4 To: Judicial Council of California

To ensure its efficient management of the Assigned Judges Program (AJP) funding and to determine the impact of its recent program changes, the Judicial Council should reassess the AJP no later than June 30, 2019, and it should examine in particular its allocation of service days and AJP funding to superior courts with surplus judges.

Agency Response From July 2019

The Judicial Council reported in July 2019 that it believes it has taken appropriate actions to correct concerns raised in the State Auditor's report. As a result of our report and its internal review, AJP policies have been revised to explicitly require consideration of a court's available judicial resources when determining whether to approve the assignment of a retired judge. Further, the Judicial Council published the Temporary Assigned Judges Program Handbook in June 2019 that reinforces the importance and emphasis on a court's need for program assistance.

In addition, in July 2019 the Judicial Council began posting data-based dashboards to monitor courts' adherence to revised program requirements. Specifically, program staff developed dashboards that are updated monthly and shared with the courts to provide court-specific information about the court's use of retired judges and noted that many courts have significantly reduced their reliance on using retired judges. Finally, the data enabled courts to make informed decisions about how and when to use a retired judge.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented

Agency Response From June 2019

The Judicial Council reported that fiscal year 2018-2019 is a transition year for the Assigned Judges Program, now referred to as the Temporary Assigned Judges Program. During the fiscal year, the Judicial Council briefed the superior courts about the changes to the program and published its revised Standards and Guidelines for Temporary Judicial Assignments. In addition, the Judicial Council stated that its staff are revising the program's request form to ensure the courts provide all necessary information needed to evaluate a request for assistance. Further, the Judicial Council stated that the restriction on the number of service days a retired judge can serve in the program is the subject of litigation. Finally, the Judicial Council stated that it expects to further refine program rules in the upcoming fiscal year.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Agency Response From January 2019

The Judicial Council stated that it accepted our recommendation and that it would work toward fully implementing it.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending

All Recommendations in I2019-2