Court officials have nixed plans to close the Burbank and Glendale
courthouses for as many as eight days in the next three months, a
move employees said would have been devastating.
The Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Committee announced the
closure plan late last week, citing a need to reduce an $8.2-million
budget deficit. But late Monday, officials reached an agreement with
state court officials to provide an additional $4 million in
appropriations. Court officials are looking to make up the rest of
the deficit by reducing spending in areas such as services and
supplies, and spokesman Allan Parachini said no furloughs will occur
in the remainder of the fiscal year.
The court employs 90 people at the Burbank and Glendale
courthouses, with 45 assigned to each building, officials said.
Those people serve as court clerks, assistants and attendants. The
Sheriff’s Department employs all security personnel, including
Yvonne Cooper, a court clerk at the Burbank courthouse, said while
she wouldn’t have been as devastated as some by the furlough, the cut
would have been substantial.
“I looked at it as one paycheck is for 10 days,” she said. “They
were going to take away eight days, so that’s like taking away almost
an entire paycheck.”
Cooper, like the majority of the employees at the Burbank and
Glendale courthouses, is a member of the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees. While union spokesman Damian
Tryon welcomed the cancellation of the furloughs, he said the recent
actions of the court were not done in good faith.
“It’s great they found a way to manage this that didn’t affect the
public or the employees,” he said.
However, for the judges to attempt to hold the court system
hostage was “unconscionable,” Tryon said.
The furloughs would not have affected judge’s salaries, because
they are paid from a different budget, officials said.
In part to prevent such surprises in the future, Tryon said AFSCME
officials are lobbying state officials to make meetings of the
court’s executive committee open to the public. He said it is unclear
if the public was even consulted about the furloughs before they were
While the courts will not close during the last three months of
this fiscal year, Tryon said the proposed action was just a prelude
to what will happen next year. Parachini declined to comment on
whether furloughs could be an option in the future.
“Next fiscal year is very fluid, very dangerous and very
unpredictable,” he said.