SAN FRANCISCO—Incoming Administrative Director of the Courts Judge Steven Jahr (Ret.) announced his choice for the three top AOC executive positions under a new executive structure adopted by the Judicial Council last Friday. The restructuring of the AOC executive team was based on recommendations by both the Judicial Council’s Executive and Planning Committee and the Chief Justice’s Strategic Evaluation Committee.
The three positions—Chief of Staff, Chief Administrative Officer, and Chief Operating Officer—will be filled by Jody Patel, currently Interim Administrative Director of the Courts, Curt Soderlund, currently Interim Chief Deputy Director, and Curt Child, currently Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs. Under the new management structure, the executive office will shrink from 14 positions to four. The change will be implemented by Oct 1; Judge Jahr assumes his new duties on Oct 9.
“These new leadership positions within the AOC’s Executive Office will strengthen oversight of the agency’s diverse areas of responsibility pertaining to the Judicial Council and the courts, facilitate clearer expectations and greater consistency of practice with regard to operational and programmatic services, and improve overall service to our customers—the Judicial Council, the courts, and the public,” said Judge Jahr.
“This is a good team,” he added. “In their interim positions for the past six months, Jody and Curt have worked to fulfill the AOC’s core service functions in a challenging fiscal climate. They have partnered with Curt Child to provide the critical advocacy process for the judicial branch on behalf of the Chief Justice, the Judicial Council, and the courts. All share an exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge on the issues confronting our justice system and the AOC. I am grateful that I will have their strong leadership and support as we proceed with implementation of the recommended organizational changes directed by the Judicial Council while continuing to deliver services to benefit California’s courts and the public.”
Before assuming her duties as Administrative Director, Ms. Patel served as the AOC’s Regional Administrative Director, a position that has now been eliminated. She joined the AOC in 2006, after serving as the executive officer for the Superior Court of Sacramento County from 2001-2006. Ms. Patel was awarded the Judicial Council Distinguished Service Award in Judicial Administration in 2005 for her significant contributions to the judicial branch.
Mr. Soderlund also brings extensive executive and judicial branch experience to his new position. Before joining the AOC in 2006, he served as deputy executive officer for the Superior Court of Sacramento County for almost five years. Prior to that, he served in executive branch agencies such as the Energy Commission, Department of General Services, Board of Control, and Housing and Community Development, and Crime Victims and Government Compensation Board.
Mr. Child joined the AOC in 2007 to lead the Office of Governmental Affairs, which is in charge of legislative and executive advocacy on behalf of the Judicial Council. His prior executive and legislative work experience includes directorship of the California Department of Child Support Services under Gov. Gray Davis and principal consultant for the Assembly Committee on Human Services. He also worked as a senior attorney for Legal Services of Northern California and the National Center for Youth Law. He received the Judicial Council’s Judicial Administration Award in 2010.