By Jon Baird

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Ambulances were called to a Los Angeles County courthouse after one worker was discovered dead on the same day hundreds of employees were told of layoffs and budget cutbacks.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird it was a somber end to the work week for management, clerical and administrative staffers inside and outside the courtrooms.

“This is, in my view, one of the saddest days in the history of the Los Angeles Superior Court,” Judge Lee Smalley Edmon said at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Friday, where the body of an employee who apparently died of natural causes was found early this morning.

The body of Greg Nemo, a Superior Court employee and union representative, was discovered near the loading dock area of the Mosk Courthouse, one floor above Edmon’s office.

One colleague said Nemo “was afraid he was gonna get laid off”, but Edmon said he was not one of the employees affected by the layoffs, nor was another employee who complained of heart palpitations.

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 were notified on Friday and given two weeks paid administrative leave.

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.

Milo Brown, a longtime court employee who now works for the employees’ union said the cuts are likely to further slow the wheels of justice.

“Normally you can get divorced in about six-to-eight months,” said Brown. “Forget it…it’s gonna take a couple years now.”

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.

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