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More Than 150 Employees Brace For Layoffs At LA Superior Court

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS)  — More than 150 employees of the LA Superior Court face being laid off Friday, according to officials.

Los Angeles Superior Court’s presiding judge Lee Smalley Edmon announced Thursday that in addition to the layoffs, that nearly 275 other employees will be affected by budget cutbacks.

“Tomorrow, 431 court employees will be adversely affected as reductions in state financial support for the California judicial branch force us to cut our budget by $30 million,” said Edmon, noting that the court has `become a casualty of the state budget crisis.”

The cutbacks will affect nearly one in every 10 employees of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the nation’s largest trial court system.

The affected employees will be notified Friday and will be given two weeks paid administrative leave, according to a statement released by the court.

Officials said 157 people are being laid off and 108 employees will lose 40 percent of their salaries when they are moved from a five- to three-day-per week schedule.

Another 86 workers will lose between 5 percent and 40 percent of their salaries when they are reclassified to lower-level positions, while 80 others are being transferred to new jobs, according to the court’s statement.

The cuts include elimination of courtroom staffing in 56 courtrooms, elimination of the court’s Informal Juvenile Traffic courts, reduction of court reporter services and elimination of 110 management, clerical and administrative positions outside the courtrooms.

“There will be more cuts next year, and their impacts will be severe,” said Assistant Presiding Judge David Wesley. “The current cuts already affect the core work of (the) court — the judge in the courtroom — while significant budget shortfalls remain. Given the significance of our responsibilities to protect public safety and children, the next round of reductions will further limit our ability to hear civil cases.”

Representatives from the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees were planning to meet affected workers Friday on the steps of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to offer resources and aid, according to a statement released on behalf of the union.

“My heart breaks for the workers being laid off … and for their families,” said AFSCME President Gwen Jones, whose union represents court employees.

“Many of them have worked for decades in our courts, serving the public, and losing this job is devastating,” she said. “But I am even more saddened for the people of Los Angeles, because truly, what is happening here is an end to timely justice in our city.”

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

 

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