The Amador County Board of Supervisors have issued their official response to the 2016-2017 Civil Grand Jury Report, and forcefully rejected almost all of the report’s conclusions and suggested correction directed at the county Health and Human Services (HSS) Department and its contracting procedures.
The Grand Jury Report, issued back in June, took a highly critical look at the way the HSS department awarded contracts for public health services, such as drug counseling. Of particular focus were contracts that had been previously awarded to the Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) that were instead awarded to a new organization, Nexus Youth and Family Services.
The supervisor’s response, which is required by law, disagreed with almost all the finding and recommendations from the Grand Jury Report, including that HHS “cherry picked” contracts at the request of Nexus, that HHS altered the selection criteria to favor Nexus, and that county employees worked to undermine ATCAA. The response letter also took issue several times with the Grand Jury’s contention that ATCAA’s status as a sole source provider, i.e. the only organization to bid on certain contracts, was something to be honored and preserved by Amador County, rather stating that introducing competition into the contracting process would lead to improved performance and reduced cost. Likewise, the Board of Supervisors rejected almost all of the Grand Jury’s recommendations, such as sending a notice out 60 days before a request for proposals is issued by the county, revise protest procedures in the bidding process, and the creation of additional conflict of interest training for county staff. The response letter did say that the county would implement the recommendations for a formal three-year review process of the contract process and that refreshing training for county employees over conflicts of interest would be provided.
The response also briefly discussed the tree mortality issue, where the Grand Jury Report was very positive in evaluating the county’s response, and the supervisors agreed with that positive assessment. .
October 6, 2017
Ledger Dispatch
By Craig Baracco