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Friday, April 22, 2011

Mismanaged Court System Promises to Become More Dysfunctional

OCA Layoffs to Affect Audits, Databases, Officials Say
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko  -  April 22, 2011

ALBANY, NY - Audits will be delayed and essential databases will be updated less frequently as the Office of Court Administration struggles to cope with layoffs, a top administrator said yesterday. Moreover, two of nine attorneys in the OCA counsel's office have received pink slips. "These nine attorneys are the attorneys that represent the court system in litigation, nine for the entire branch of government," said Ronald Younkins, OCA's director of operations. "The amount of litigation is not going to decrease, and it might well increase" due to planned layoffs, which are effective May 4. Administrators announced 74 layoffs from the courts' 550-person central staff on Wednesday, including 16 temporary workers. Fifty were located in Manhattan and 24 upstate (NYLJ, April 21). A deeper, second round of layoffs is planned. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has said between 400 and 500 of the courts' 15,200 nonjudicial workers will be let go as the Judiciary tries to comply with $170 million in cuts to its $2.7 billion budget. The 74 layoffs will result in savings of about $6 million in salary and fringe benefits, Mr. Younkins said. Judge Lippman said in an interview yesterday that the courts would attempt to minimize the impact of the layoffs on the public, but he acknowledged that "significant delays will be caused by all this." Mr. Younkins said six of 17 employees doing data processing in Manhattan were let go. Their loss will affect the timeliness of the entry of information to various databases, he said. Those include one listing the registration status of all New York attorneys and whether they are in good standing with the state or face suspension or disbarment  (Attorney Search Database). Another database lists the attorneys eligible for appointment as guardians and fiduciaries under the so-called Part 36 Appointment System.  Mr. Younkins said the eligibility of lawyers for appointments is based on their experience with such assignments, which is updated frequently under the current workforce. "There may be a delay in having an attorney added to the list," he conceded. "Also, information about past appointments is on the list. The database might not make it clear that the attorney has had the number of appointments required, the amount of compensation they have received, and it would mean that they are [temporarily] not eligible for further appointments." Another database requiring constant updating entails the filing—at the beginning and end of cases—of all contingency fee agreements involving lawyers in the Appellate Division's First and Second departments. The closing statements include the final accounting of attorney's fees paid.  "These are the types of things that require somebody sitting down at a keyboard and putting this information into the system," Mr. Younkins said. "Fewer people means there are going to be delays in keeping these databases current." The layoffs of three of 27 OCA auditors means the unit will perform fewer evaluations and take longer to complete them. The unit reviews spending on programs and contracts, such as those with cities and counties to provide security in buildings outside of New York City. Other units losing employees, generally a few workers at a time, are payroll, court facilities, alternative dispute resolution, human resources, information technology and continuing legal education, Mr. Younkins said. Secretarial staff is also being lost, he added. The court wanted to spread out the layoffs so that "we would not have to close down any offices," he said. Judge Lawrence K. Marks, OCA's administrative director, said the first round of cuts were "spread out as evenly as possible." In most cases, but not all, workers with the least seniority were laid off, he said. Joel Stashenko can be contacted at Andrew Keshner contributed to this report.


Anonymous said...

Pretty funny. You have to give credit to the creativity involved in actually making New York's screwed up court system worse. A lot of work goes into that.

Themis unblinded said...

It's dysfunctional to cover-up corruption.
They'll protect trusted relatives and the relatives of other judges and OCA administrators. If you didn't have your hand in the pot like they did, consider reevenge.

Revenge is indeed sweet and good for society and science backs it up.
"The feeling of satisfaction people get from meting out altruistic punishment may be the glue that keeps societies together. Cooperation among strangers breaks down in experiments if altruistic punishment is ruled out. Cooperation flourishes if punishment of defectors is possible."

Do it for yourself and all the other victims of those scum.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. More like Chicken Little scare tactics. They are threatening to not do the work that they are supposed to do that they aren't doing anyway.

I've worked with people like this. They are masters at making a mess of things and then demanding that they just have to have help or they can't do the job.

The solution to this is to get people in there who can do the job.

Doesn't Judge Judy have a phrase for this? Something like "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

Clearly no one if falling for this. Lippman has been whining for months about how the courts can't survive without millions more. Now he seems to be coming up with the threat of the day to see if that is going to work.

If he can't do the job, get someone who can.

Anonymous said...

I worked for OCA for 3 decades and by their own hand written evaluations, OCA stated that I was one of their best employees and eligible for supervisory positions....until I filed discrimination complaints a few years back, which were obviously quite serious and OCA OIG started their corrupt and false documented investigation, obtained through deposition....and before the investigation could even be completed...Judge Jan Plumadore.. fired me, stating I suddenly became too unfit and incompetent to work for OCA, because I had knowledge of massive discrimination.
After 30 yrs and no Dr reports, as that backfired the first time I charged them...using just recently hired hack judge and supervisors producing perjurous statements at the request of an e-mail from the hack judge..and of course CSEA'S COWARDLY representation.. and blatantly OCA friendly.
The public wants hard working employees, even with layoffs...but do not ever count on OCA firing any matter where they stand seniority wise.. as OCA loves to employ, keep and support...the very weak and sadly,those who are the YES people.

Anonymous said...

I work for the court system and am still amazed by the inefficiency from the top down. (Supposed) supervisors/bosses who do nothing by talk on the phone all day on non-business related calls, judges and their staff who are never around not to mention staff with high school diplomas/GEDs who make more than college graduates.

If I don't get laid off, just let me get my 20 yrs and i'm gone.

Anonymous said...

What about laying off the top people starting with the Judges and administrators?

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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