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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

New State Bar budget cut back by 6.2 percent

The Board of Trustees for the State Bar of California adopted a budget last month that includes a 6.2 percent reduction in expenditures for this year.

The board approved a $146.1 million spending plan for 2016, down from $155.8 million in 2015. The budget calls for across-the-board cuts to travel, catering and temporary help and the elimination of 21 vacant positions. The board will revisit the plan at its March meeting.

“I commend the bar’s new leadership team for bringing to the board a fiscally responsible budget that incorporates numerous efficiencies while maintaining our commitment to public protection,” State Bar President David Pasternak said. "They have displayed an extraordinary understanding of the bar's finances within an extremely short period of time."

The budget savings will be helpful if a workforce planning study shows the need to add resources to the discipline system, Executive Director Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker said.

In other action, the board:

  • Established a policy of keeping two months of operating expenses in reserve at the suggestion and with the agreement of the California State Auditor.
  • Authorized the State Bar to borrow up to $10 million to make improvements to the bar’s headquarters at 180 Howard St., San Francisco. After construction, the bar plans to lease three vacant floors at market rates. This is anticipated to yield a return on investment within five years.

Parker said the new fiscal policies show that the State Bar is committed to transparency, accountability, excellence and financial responsibility. Another recent example is the Audit Committee’s quarterly review of senior executive travel expenses, which are posted on the bar’s website.

The board also held its annual planning retreat. The result was an updated strategic plan that can be found on the bar’s website.