AOC director Overholt resigns, chief justice attacks Assembly

Big news from the courts this week!

Ron Overholt, interim administrative director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, has resigned.

The free-spending ways of Overholt and his predecessor William Vickrey were exposed in November by San Diego’s Channel 10 News. The TV station documented their tax-funded “steaks, martinis and hotel stays” in Vail, Colo., Boston, Charlotte, Santa Fe, and Indian Wells, all paid for with money that could have gone to local courts.

“By making this difficult choice, I hope that my decision will help refocus attention on the critical issues at hand—budget restoration, the future of the branch, and the stability of the AOC,” Overholt said.

Overholt is exactly right. That’s why SEIU members talked to legislators about AB 1208, a bill that would bring accountability and transparency to the courts.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has attacked the Assembly for daring to pass AB 1208, which would also require money allocated to courts actually be spent on courts, instead of the centralized bureaucracy and its special benefits for top managers. The bill barely passed the Assembly after lobbying by SEIU members. It was also supported by the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

“But it’s politics, it’s who drinks the Kool Aid, who gets excited when the chief justice comes and visits with you and also gives information that’s misleading and false and confuses the issue,” Assemblyman Charles Calderon, a Democrat from Montebello, told Courthouse News Service. “You’ve got to work through all that, each member has to work through all the information and misinformation out there surrounding the issue.”

Meanwhile, AB 1208 has moved to the Senate. No hearing has been scheduled yet while leadership works on mediating a compromise.

Read about Cantil-Sakauye’s speech in the Sacramento Bee and Courthouse News.

Read about Overholt’s resignation at Courthouse News.

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