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San Mateo County Court Announces Cuts, Layoffs Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) – Officials with the San Mateo County Superior Court announced on Wednesday employee furloughs, layoffs and service reductions, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and cuts in the new state budget.

"The pandemic emergency left us with little time to plan and absorb the enormous revenue losses occurring statewide. We had no choice but to cut our budget, impose furloughs and issue these layoff notices," Superior Court Executive Officer Neal Taniguchi said in a statement.

The court said professional, management and unrepresented employees will take 5 percent mandatory furloughs, which roughly amounts to one day per month. A hiring freeze has also been implemented, along with reductions in the court's non-personnel budget.

Meanwhile, the court is issuing 20 layoff notices to employees represented by SEIU Local 521, after the court said they did not accept mandatory furloughs and the elimination of term employment. The positions will be terminated by August 28th.

Court officials said the reductions will cut public hours by 50 percent and warned of "significant delays" in obtaining judgments and writs in civil and family law. The public should also expect delays in processing documents and fulfilling records requests in all case types, along with obtaining appointments to file case documents.

Office services will be offered by appointment only, the court said, while online chat and telephone services will only be offered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The court is also suspending Family Court service appointments at the South San Francisco courthouse, along with closing the clerk's office and self-help center.

Taniguchi warned additional layoffs and service cuts could be looming in the next fiscal year if the economy does not improve by then.

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