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Judge: Court needs a car

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By David Giuliani

Municipal Judge Eddie says he’ll return the keys for the court’s city-issued car once he gets assurances that his staff will still have access to a vehicle.

In a memo last week to City Manager Sharon Caballero, the judge said that his clerks need access to a city car to run errands that are essential for court business. They regularly go to the bank for deposits, the post office, the Police Department, and Magistrate and District courts, and the state Motor Vehicle Division office, he said.

Trujillo’s memo was in response to Caballero’s announcement last week that she was reducing the number of take-home cars by four, including the one assigned to the court.

After receiving Trujillo’s memo, Caballero said the city could make a car available to the court when it needed one.

“We don’t want taxpayers to pay for gas to take them home at night,” she said.

In response, Trujillo said that’s “doable.” He just wanted to know if the court could have the car parked there at night.

He said he used to take the car home at night because of fears of vandalism, but he hasn’t done so in months.

The judge said earlier last week that he was surprised that no one from the city conducted an assessment of how city cars were used before making a decision on which ones to remove from the take-home list.

“That’s what led me to believe this may be personal. That’s what I feel bad about,” he said.

Trujillo’s court operates as part of the city government, but he is elected and operates independently of city management.

Also last week, Caballero announced that she was reducing the number of city-issued cell phones. Trujillo’s was among those on the list for elimination.

He said he had no problem with that decision, saying he wanted to be a team player. He said he has already changed the phone into his name, so he will be billed personally.

“My staff and the jail must be able to reach me at all times, day or night, regarding inmates or immediate court matters,” Trujillo said in the letter to Caballero