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East Bay man becomes courts’ top administrator

By Josh Richman
Monday, July 25th, 2011 at 2:05 pm in Uncategorized.

A Danville man and former Alameda County Superior Court administrator is taking over as the California court system’s top bureaucrat, just as the courts face crippling budget cuts.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced today that she and the Judicial Council approved the appointment of Ronald Overholt, 59, as interim Administrative Director of the California Courts, effective Sept. 10. He’ll succeed William Vickrey, who will retire Sept. 9 after doing that job for 19 years.

“As Chief Deputy Director of the AOC for the past 11 years and as a highly experienced former trial court executive, Ron is intimately familiar with the statewide budget process and many other aspects of court administration,” Cantil-Sakauye said in a news release. “I look forward to working with Ron and have confidence that he will continue the highest standards of leadership.”

Overholt has been the Administrative Office of the Court’s chief deputy director since 2000; before that, he had been the Executive Officer, Jury Commissioner, and Clerk of the Superior Court of Alameda County. He also had been a manager in the San Diego County courts from 1979 to 1988. In 2010, he received the National Center for State Courts‘ Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the national organization. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from National University in San Diego and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from San Diego State University. Overholt and his wife, PJ, have a daughter, Blaire.

Overholt, in the news release, said he’s honored by the promotion: “I could not be more proud to be a member of the staff of the AOC and to lead its work.”

Temporarily, at least. The Judicial Council also Friday authorized Cantil-Sakauye to appoint a committee to develop a process for selecting a permanent director.

It might be a largely thankless job. The Judicial Council on Friday voted unanimously to stand by its plan for apportioning out the $350 million in cuts necessitated by the Legislature’s 2011-2012 budget. The council rejected trial judges’ pleas for deeper bureaucratic cuts to protect their courtrooms – the system’s main interface with the public – from widespread closures that will make the wheels of civil justice grind even slower.

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  • Lou

    According to the Judicial Council in the 7/25 post (and printed in the OT on 8/1), the courtrooms are the “…system’s main interface with the public.”.

    By contrast, according to most attorneys, 95% of lawsuits are settled before anyone sets a foot in the courtroom.

    I hope the courts use the opportunity presented by the budget cuts to improve the pre-trial processes it can control so that people do not lose their health, home, and life savings under the false assumption that they will even get to the courtoom.

  • Elwood

    I used to work for an outfit that had the world’s greatest attorney.

    He never lost a case.

    He always paid off before we went to court.