Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Retiring court executive lauded for fiscal foresight

As the Yolo Superior Court's executive officer, Jim Perry has helped the court survive $5 million in budget cuts over the past four years due to declining state support. He has announced that he will retire May 1 to spend more time with his children, ages 10, 12 and 14. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A3 | March 03, 2013 |

WOODLAND — After 20 years of working for California’s courts, Jim Perry is calling it a career.

The Yolo Superior Court executive officer announced his retirement last week, setting a departure date of May 1.

“It will give me a chance to connect with my family more,” said Perry, the father of three children ages 10, 12 and 14, whose wife Tammy recently returned to her teaching career. “I have lots to do.”

He will leave having guided the court through some of its toughest financial times, including $5 million worth of budget cuts over the past four years that have required creative measures for doing the same amount of work — and perhaps more — with fewer resources.

“What all of the judges have appreciated most about Jim Perry is he has been very careful with our finances. He has done an exceptional job of keeping judges fully informed,” said Judge Steven Basha, Yolo’s presiding judge. “He has improved each year both in his ability to interact in a positive manner with people, and in his administrative skills. He is going to be missed.”

Perry also has been lauded for successfully advocating for additional judgeships in the Yolo courts, as well as for his contributions toward plans for building a new courthouse, construction of which is scheduled to begin this spring.

In addition to his CEO duties, Perry has served on several statewide judicial branch committees, including the Domestic Violence Task Force, the Facilities Task Force and the Budget Working Group.

All this from a person who once envisioned himself becoming a therapist.

After a 22-year career in the U.S. Army that took him through tours of Vietnam and Kuwait, Perry accepted a job with the Sacramento County court system while pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling at National University.

He got the degree, but opted to stay with the courts, working his way from court attendant to court clerk to manager of the family, juvenile and probate division.

“I found it a lot like my past experience in management, so I decided to go in that direction,” Perry said. He added that he enjoyed the challenge of “finding root problems and trying to solve them.”

Perry was serving as assistant court executive officer in Placer County when he was approached to fill the vacant CEO position in Yolo County. He arrived here in 2003 and discovered there was much work to be done.

“It was a pretty difficult time. There were significant budget issues,” Perry recalled. Funding for the courts was in the process of shifting from individual counties to the state, and “we were struggling to keep in the black.”

Perry said he put together a five-year plan for stabilizing funding, including the creation of a comprehensive collections program that more efficiently took in the fines and fees due to the courts. For the first time, the courts offered a payment program that allowed people to pay off large fines on a monthly basis, rather than all at once — for some a daunting if not impossible prospect.

Within six years, the courts had established a “rainy day” fund for use during bleak financial times, which became a reality several years ago when the economy took a dive.

Under Perry’s guidance, the courts slashed its spending by offering early retirements and freezing positions when employees left, resulting in a current vacancy rate of 30 percent. Some court services, such as criminal and civil filing windows, have cut their hours so that employees can catch up on work backlogs.

“There are still some tough times to go, but I believe Yolo is in the top five (courts) in terms of being able to sustain itself this year and next,” Perry said.

Though he won’t be around to work in it, Perry was instrumental in the planning process for a new Yolo courthouse, a $165 million, 14-courtroom state-funded project slated for Woodland’s Main Street that will consolidate court facilities currently spread among several sites elsewhere in the city.

A ceremonial groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for early April, with construction expected to take about two years.

In addition to his family activities, Perry said he hopes to involve himself in volunteer work — he’s been approached about giving his time to veterans’ court services — and brush up on his golf game.

“I’m just proud of where the court is,” Perry said, citing employee professionalism and judges who are highly involved both in the courts and the community. “They make it easy for me to do my job.”

Perry’s successor will be Shawn Landry, who has served as Yolo’s assistant CEO since 2003. His duties have included overseeing a variety of administrative functions including human resources, fiscal matters, information technology, facilities, public information, operations, strategic planning and court security.

Landry, who holds a law degree, previously worked for the Administrative Office of the Courts as well as the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida.

“This was a unanimous decision by the bench, and it will ensure continuity in the leadership for the court,” Basha said. “Mr. Landry has earned the respect of all the judicial officers for his excellent administrative skills and remarkable foresight.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8