Op-ed: Court services bill was misrepresented

Published in San Jose Mercury News, Oct. 3, 2013

I authored AB 566 to keep the doors of our courthouses open to the public. Unfortunately, the Mercury News (Editorial, Sept. 26) misrepresented both the intent and the effect of the bill.

Let me be clear: AB 566 does not add undue burdens on courts that privatize judicial services. It merely establishes reasonable standards already followed by other branches of government to ensure that when for-profit companies are hired with tax dollars, decisions prioritize cost, quality and the public interest.

After state judicial executives let costs for an out-of-control IT project balloon to over a half-billion dollars before pulling the plug on the boondoggle, independent auditors called for more oversight. AB 566 improves transparency at the local level so taxpayers know privatized services actually save money, and won’t run up unforeseen bills that bleed dollars from core court operations. And it protects the integrity of our courts.

Gov. Jerry Brown should sign AB 566 to protect taxpayers and access to justice.

Bob Wieckowski

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