New state funding should allow San Francisco’s courts to avoid more than half their threatened layoffs and nearly half their planned courtroom closures, reports the city’s Chronicle. The agreement negotiated with the state Administrative Office of the Courts would provide $3.15 million in emergency funds and grants to San Francisco Superior Court, said Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein.
Feinstein had announced July 17 that the court would have to lay off 200 employees, more than 40 percent of its staff, and close 25 of 63 courtrooms. She blamed major reductions in state funding and said members of the public would face delays in everything from paying a traffic ticket to getting a divorce. Feinstein later reduced the layoff estimate to 177. She said Wednesday’s agreement, subject to approval by the state Judicial Council on Sept. 9, would lower the layoff total to 75 and the courtroom closures to 14.