San Francisco To Shutter Courtrooms, Lay Off Staff

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Superior Court has announced severe cutbacks, including the closure of 25 courtrooms and some 200 layoffs.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Katherine Feinstein called it a grim day for San Francisco courts.

“This is the saddest and most heart-wrenching day I have experienced in my professional life,” she said.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Feinstein said the 40 percent staff cuts will mean a longer wait for people looking to file papers or pay tickets and fines. A divorce will take a year and a half to process instead of six months and there will be a five-year wait for a civil case to come to trial.

“This is just not right,” said Feinstein. “This will be devastating to our 200 employees and their families, significantly damage the Bay Area economy and it will be tremendously harmful to the public we take pride in serving.”

While criminal courts will remain intact, all but three civil trial courts will be closing on October 1.

The cuts are needed to close a $13.75 million deficit and Feinstein places the blame squarely on the governor and legislature. She said they have completely dismantled the state court system.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Barbara Taylor
  • Milan Moravec

    Loyalty is dead. As businesses, universities, states, counties, cities worldwide stumble through the recession some find themselves in a phase of creative disassembly. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. World class University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) and his $7 million outside consultants are firing employees via his “Operational Excellence (OE)”: 2,000 axed by end 2011. Yet many cling to an old assumption: the implied, unwritten management-employee contract.

    Management promised work, upward progress for employees fitting in, employees accepted lower wages, performing in prescribed ways, sticking around. Longevity was good employer-employee relations; turnover a dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply in the 21 century economy. Businesses, universities, public institutions can no longer guarantee careers, even if they want to. Managements paralyzed themselves with a strategy of “success brings successes” rather than “successes brings failure’ and are now forced to break implied contract with employees – a contract nurtured by management that future can be controlled.

    Jettisoned employees are discovering that hard won knowledge earned while loyal is no longer desired in employment markets. What contract can employers, employees make with each other?

    The central idea is simple, powerful: job is a shared partnership.
    • Employers, employees face financial conditions together; longevity of partnership depends on how well customers, constituencies needs are met.
    • Neither management nor employee has future obligation to the other.
    • Organizations train people.
    • Employees create security they really need – skills, knowledge that creates employability in 21st century economies
    • The management-employee loyalty partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor.

    Sustained employability in the 21st century economy is not loyalty to management, company, university, public agency or union.

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  • Michael Aschoff

    I figure I’ve been taxed and fined more by the system than by any thief … off the dole … get a jobbie job!

  • phrunes

    Time for these folks to find a real job. The days of protracted legal battles in family and civil courts all due to inneficiencies created for their own job security are over. The “were overburdened, serving the needs of the people” swan song is getting old to most of us. 5 years for a civil case?…hmmm, remove some of the redundant and unecessary “lawyering” and suddenly these things are on the fast track. I’ve hired many lawyers over the years and been thru the court system for various civil matters and have yet to meet the lone “Perry Mason” who justifies a 7 figure salary for their great and thoughtful legal mind. Forms pushers, glued to a system created by the entire Judiaciary to keep the money rollin in. We’ll see you in the bread lines, just like the rest of us…just don’t expect us to let you cut the line. Good riddance!

  • P. Edwards

    But thankfully, the money will be diverted to schools so that gay history will be taught. Whew! True disaster is averted in CA! That was close!

  • 1SmallStep

    75% of them are sitting on their arses anyways, so cutting 40% is only doing a little over 50% of the cut. Consider themselves lucky…

  • Roger Craig

    They all have these big severance packages and and scream when a job goes down the tubes. DID YOU REALLY THINK YOUR ENTITLED TO WORK AND NOT SHARE THE PAIN IN AMERICA…..


  • VoiceOfReason

    Loyalty has nothing to do with employment. Both public and private entities owe no one a job. Just like the private sector, when funding is not available, jobs must be cut. What is so hard to understand about this? Yet public employees have this idea that employment for life – regardless of the economic climate – is their right. It’s NOT.

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    […] announced Monday that the court is laying off 200 employees and closing 12 of 15 civil trial courtrooms. Criminal trials will continue, but most civil lawsuits […]

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