"That's called THEFT. The DA and/or Controller should investigate." That's how one of you responded, and it spurred me on to make more inquiries. What I've learned is that virtually all tipstaffs are paid for 80 hours every pay period, regardless whether they are here. I learned they are paid as hourly, and not salaried, employees.
That's an imprtant distinction. Hourly employees must be physically present.
What this means, therefore, is that someone is filling time cards that falsely report eighty hour pay periods. Even if you believe tipstaffs are justified and that judicial operations must be given great deference, how can you pay people for hours that have never been worked?
I called Court Accountant Badaoui Boulous, who takes care of the payroll for judicial employees. He referred all questions to his boss, Court Administrator Jim Onembo.
I then called Onembo, who told me that tipstaffs perform a "vital function" and that the courts "do a pretty effective job with the dollars we're allocated." I agree that the courts run efficiently, but why are the tipstaffs being paid for 40 hour weeks when they are not here 40 hours, as required by the Wage & Hour Act.?
Onembo stated tipstaffs are "considered full time," but was "not going to indicate they work forty hours." He added, "It is what it is." Whatever that is.
What's clear is that these workers are being paid for 80 hours every pay period, even though they work less. Onembo suggested that perhaps the hourly rate should be bumped up and employees only paid for the hours they actually work.
Clearly, something needs to change. You don't pay public employees for hours they have not worked. I have no wish to attack the integrity of these people, but in the eyes of many members of the publcic, this is stealing.