Courts Reopen, Shorten Work Day
The state of California treats the Superior Court of Alameda County as a “donor” court. This means that the state can divert large portions of the court’s ongoing funding and any “new” money to other courts that the state considers more under-resourced. As a result the Superior Court of Alameda County began fiscal year 2016-2017 with a budget deficit that surpasses $5 million.
“For several years during the recession, California’s trial courts were subject to severe budget reductions. But while the State’s economy has improved in recent years, only a small percentage of that funding has been restored,” stated Morris Johnson, presiding judge at the Alameda County Superior Court, in a press release.
To make up for the lack of money from the state, the courts have eliminated a number of vacant staff positions, instituted hiring freezes and reduced the use of outside contractors and consultants.
“One significant effect of a number of these money-saving solutions is that the court will be operating with a significantly reduced workforce for the foreseeable future.” In order to operate at this level and continue to provide critical services to the public, the court will be required to reduce the operating hours of the clerk’s offices.
The court closed all its courtrooms — except those at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland — from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2. All the courthouses are now open, but courts for all case types except for traffic will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The clerk’s office for traffic court will open 30 minutes earlier at 8 a.m. and close at 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Clerks’ offices had been open until 4:30 p.m.
The courts have made drop boxes available at each clerk’s office for filings between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. The courts will handle filings deposited in any drop box after 4 p.m. on the next court day. In addition the court has reduced the cutoff time for submitting a filing by fax under the Court’s “Premium Fax Filing” service from 4:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Telephone hours in all clerks’ offices except for traffic will be reduced to 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Phones will remain open in the traffic clerk’s offices — as well as the Jury Services Office — until 4 p.m.
The public may provide public comment on these planned reductions in hours in writing by snail mail, directed to Executive Office, 1225 Fallon Street, Room 209, Oakland, CA 94612, ATTN: PRO; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.