San Francisco–The Interim Administrative Director of the California Courts submitted his resignation to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on Wednesday, citing both personal reasons and the need for the judicial branch to keep its focus on restoration of the judicial branch budget.
“My decision is based on a number of factors,” said Mr. Ronald G. Overholt. “Among them is that the position of Administrative Director of the Courts has become a lightning rod for controversy, impacting the focus on budget discussions, Judicial Council governance of the judicial branch, and the AOC itself. By making this difficult choice, I hope that my decision will help refocus attention on the critical issues at hand—budget restoration, the future of the branch, and the stability of the AOC.”
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye called Mr. Overholt’s decision understandable but unfortunate. “Ron’s decision to leave the AOC is regrettable. His departure as Interim Administrative Director is a great loss not only for the AOC but also for the state judicial branch. But we respect his judgment that a transition is necessary at this time for him and for the court system he has served so well. Ron’s service in court administration over the past 30 years, including his outstanding service as Chief Deputy Director of the AOC, and especially over the last several months as Interim Director, has been exemplary and has served to enhance access to justice and public trust and confidence in our justice system. I join with judicial leaders around the state in thanking him and wishing him well in his future public service endeavors.”
“For the past three years, the economic environment we’ve been operating in has created unprecedented challenges for the state and prompted a reassessment of resources and priorities for all areas of government,” Mr. Overholt said. “For the AOC, this has included significant ongoing budget reductions and internal reorganization efforts. In the anxiety-generating climate of this fiscal crisis, the AOC’s role in serving the council to advance access to justice on a statewide basis has unfairly become an easy target. Every organization has room for improvement, and where merited, the AOC has taken corrective action and is continuing to do so. Where issues raised have been without merit, we have worked hard to correct misinformation. AOC directors, managers, and staff have devoted incredible time and effort on a daily basis to do more with less and to deliver critical services to the courts and the public.
“I will continue to work closely with the Chief Justice and the new interim director to ensure the best possible transition. I am proud to have served in a leadership role in the judicial branch¾as an administrator in superior courts, as a member of the Judicial Council, and as a chief executive of this outstanding public service organization. I am proud of all that the Judicial Council, the courts, and the AOC have accomplished together to benefit our justice system and the people we serve.”
Mr. Overholt has won a number of state and national awards for his court administration service; in 2010, he received the National Center for State Court’s Distinguished Service Award (see news release). Before his appointment as Interim Administrative Director of the Courts in September 2011, Mr. Overholt served for 11 years as Chief Deputy Director of the AOC.
At the trial court level, he served as Court Executive Officer of the Superior Court of Alameda County for nine years, and for three years as the Assistant Court Executive Officer, and previously held senior management positions with the Superior Court of San Diego County. In 1997, he also served as a negotiator on behalf of the Judicial Council for the passage of landmark legislation providing for state funding of the trial courts.
A special closed Judicial Council meeting has been called today to select a new Interim Administrative Director, who will serve for the next few months as the national search for a permanent director continues.