That’s Right, Snub the Media (and the Public)

A key state lawmaker is blocking the courts’ request for more computer techies, but you won’t hear about the ensuing debate, at least not publicly.

At a budget mark-up hearing this week, Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez, D-Norwalk, told Administrative Office of the Courts officials that they hadn’t made their case for 17 new information technology jobs to support the AOC, the Supreme Court and the appellate courts. The division already has 137 positions, he noted, and “there’s a feeling that there needs to be greater clarity” if managers want more.

Ironically, Bermudez then called for a future closed-door “stakeholders” meeting “where we’re not going to be in a public hearing on tape.” Those on the invited list: budget subcommittee staff, the AOC and, presumably, the largest court workers’ unions. Those snubbed: the media and the general public.

The new jobs would cost $3.3 million, a pittance compared to the billions that comprise the overall state budget. But the hang-up points to some legislative leaders’ resistance to scaling back oversight of the courts. And it suggests the coming debates over bigger budget items will be more heated. Just don’t expect to see them take place in public.

— Cheryl Miller

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