Grand Jury Achievement Report

CGJA has adopted a project to document as many grand jury achievements as possible.  We have defined a “Grand Jury Achievement” as a grand jury recommendation that gains acceptance by the entity and for which a verified beneficial result can be shown.  Listed below are the items we have been able to document listed in reverse chronological order (most recent on top).

We would like to add to this list as many items as possible.  Please search you county website, your own knowledge, your local media reports and submit to us additional items.  The format is simple:

Date of Report

County

Title of Report

Beneficial outcome

Subject

 

 

 

 

 

A fillable form may be opened by clicking on GJAR Form.  Please fill in as completely as possible and click on Submit.  For questions, contact editor@cgja.org

Below are examples of reports that have met the criteria for includion in this information.

Date of Report

County

Title of Report
(with link)

Beneficial outcome

Subject

6/25/14 Sonoma Sherriff-Coronor's Office and Morgue Inspection At the time of the Grand Jury investigation the medical group that was contracted to perform autopsy reports for the County was delinquent in over 400 cases. As a result of the Grand Jury report and prompt action by the Sheriff's Office and County Counsel, the entire backlog of cases was eliminated by January 31, 2015 thus allowing the Sheriff's Office to close a significant number of open investigations and bring closure to the families of lost loved ones. County Government
6/30/13 San Luis Obispo
Email Accessibility to City Government
The five cities cited in the report implemented the recommendation to make Brown Act disclosures on their city websites.
City Government
6/25/2013 Amador Financial Road to Recovery There was much confusion and controversy regarding the financial state of the Amador Water Agency.  A prior Grand Jury spent one year investigating, but could not get to the bottom of the issue of merging 2 funds into 1, a clear violation of Government code. Yet the transactions started in 2004 and continued until 2013.  This Grand Jury was able to track the wrongdoing, that resulted in the AWA being more transparent in their financial dealings with their ratepayers.  Web access is more open and the controversy and blaming has ceased. Water Districts
6/25/2013 Amador Fiscal Integrity and Amador County Citizens of Amador County can now read the Annual Budget Document and get more than just spreadsheets.  There is a Glossary of Terms, Pie Charts showing revenues and expenditures, Departmental Purposes and Objectives. County Government
6/4/2012 Nevada Grass Valley School District Former Grass Valley School District Superintendents retirement benefits have been cut after a state agency determined the administrator’s benefit calculation was “overstated.” Benefits were reduced by about $6,000 annually and 5 percent will be deducted from his checks to pay for retroactive over-payments until restitution is made.
 
School Districts
3/16/2012 Ventura Vehicle Impound Fees in Ventura County

All cities in the county were asked to respond to the recommendation that vehicle impound fees be examined and, where justified, be reduced.  The City of thousand Oaks agreed with the recommendation and at the same city council meeting on May 9, 2012, responded affirmatively to the grand jury report and adopted a resolution to reduce the fees.

City and County Government

7/1/2011

Alameda

City of Oakland Building Services Division

Direct, specific change, overhaul, training, regulations to the City of Oakland’s CEDA/Building Services Division.  These changes directly affect homeowners in the City of Oakland.
 

City and County Government

6/29/2011

Yuba

Financial Hard Times in Yuba County

The Auditor-Controller, having been found unqualified by the Yuba County Grand Jury, presented a letter of resignation.   The Board of Supervisors will consider adopting and enforcing Government Code Section 26945.1, which requires an Auditor-Controller to obtain 40 hours of continuing education in the accounting field every two years and will also consider establishing stricter qualifications for the position of Auditor-Controller.   Finally, Board of Supervisors has directed staff to investigate and report on the process of establishing the position of Auditor-Controller as an appointed, rather than elected position.

Audit-Budget-Finance

6/2/2011

Ventura

Emergency Communications Interoperability

The County has made significant progress towards improving emergency communications interoperability and is on course to timely tactical interoperable communications plan (TICP 0 implementation. Interagency cooperation and participation has been emphasized and encouraged

Sheriff-Coroner

1/11/2011

Calaveras

Jenny Lind Fire Protection District

Resolution of Hostile Workplace Issues, Enhanced Employee Morale, Safer Operation, Better Community Outreach

Fire Departments

6/30/2010

Shasta

Board Meetings - 101

The report will enable all Board members of Local Districts in Shasta County to have local access to training by their State Association. There are 64 Boards in the County and the response has been nearly unanimous. Because of the economy most Boards have not been sending board members out of town for training because of the costs.

Special Districts

5/21/2010

Kern

Use of County Purchasing Card Violating County Policy

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has received additional training on Purchasing Procedures. Additionally the report has resulted in a plan to revise the Administrative and Policy Procedures Manual Chapter 5   Purchasing Procedures. The revision is intended to preclude any further misunderstandings by the purchasing card holders.

City and County Government

2/9/2010

Kern

City of Taft Employee Contract

The City Council adopted resolutions resolving ambiguity regarding the authority to sign contracts and requiring that all contracts must be approved by the City Attorney and the City Council

City and County Government

7/16/2009

San Francisco

Pensions, Beyond Our Ability to Pay

A ballot measure will appear on the November 2010 ballot supporting a change in the pension system that will not be as fiscally taxing to San Francisco

City and County Government

6/24/2009

Ventura

Land Use Permitting Proces - "Get to Excellence" Plan

The county concurred with the follow-up recommendations made by the grand jury to accelerate implementation of this policy regarding issuance of land use permits.

Planning and Engineering

5/12/2009

Mendocino

Nobody (is) Was Listening: The Redwood Coast Senior Center

This report uncovered a history of abuse of employees, a disrespectful demeanor towards the seniors, a neglected facility, deteriorating programs and an excessive compensation package for the executive director.  This report received the CGJA 2009 Excellence In Reporting Award

Health and Human Services

4/28/2009

Fresno

City of Sanger

Adopted a policy that the City Council will adopt a balanced budget, will review budget reports on a monthly basis, will build the General fund restricted reserve to 15% and will ensure that all Enterprise Fund operations are self-supporting.  The council further adopted a policy to ensure that City Councilmembers follow the appropriate chain of command when dealing with city employees.

City and County Government

6/30/2008

Humboldt

Appointed Department Head Evaluations

All appointed department heads and the CAO are evaluated annually

Board of Supervisors

6/18/2008

San Joaquin

San Joaquin Delta Community College

The current board has adopted a renewed sense of ethics and responsibility and has demonstrated the ability to work together.  The follow up report by the successor grand jury said the differences between the two boards are striking.

Education

6/2/2008

Contra Costa

Aquatic Junkyards exist in Contra Costa County

Implementation of the Grand Jury recommendations has been underway and will result in a significant clean-up of the Delta waterways by removing derelict vessels and other refuse that has been abandoned in the waterways and along the shoreline.

Public Transportation Systems

5/14/2008 Sacramento Sacramento Publice Libdrary Authority: The Business of Books The Sacramento Public Library Board replaced the Director, requested an audit, and ultimately accepted the report’s recommendations, thereby vindicating the work of the 2008 Grand Jury. Three library employees and contractors were prosecuted and convicted of fraud. County Government

4/21/2008

Napa

Napa County Fire Department

This report  persuaded the Fire Department and the Board of Supervisors to make the Volunteer Fire Department and integral part of the Napa County Fire Department and assuring that volunteer firefighters get the treatment and resources they need to protect the citizens of Napa County

Fire Departments

6/30/2007

Los Angeles

Child Support Services

Lives of children under the protection of Child Support Services have been improved by implementation of the grand jury report

Health and Human Services

6/30/2007

Los Angeles

Avoiding Code Blue – Safeguards for Patient Medications

The Grand Jury was able to document notable strides in standardizing and strengthening the control over pharmacy distribution of medication throughout the county medical facilities resulting in decreased medical errors.

Health and Human Services

5/22/2007

Kern

Kern County Waste Management Department and City of Bakersfield Department of Public Works, Solid Waste and Recycling Division

The voluntary participation has increased because the fees charged have been reduced from $80.00 per year to $48.00 per year. The disincentives were removed from the program which has created more citizen involvement.

Waste Management-Water Quality

6/30/2006

San Diego

Tax Refund Program

As of November 2005, $760,000 in property taxes refunded to property owners.  A potential total of overpaid property taxes may be over $8 million.

Treasurer-Tax Collector

6/16/2006

Ventura

Thousand Oaks City Council

Making the public aware of the total situation surrounding controversial actions by the Council and to stimulate an open discussion of the issues as part of the council election campaign.  Awareness is made by the report, the responses and extensive news media coverage.

Council and Manager

4/25/2006

Marin

Defenseless at Arraignment - Lady Justice Lagging in Marin

According to the Assistant Public Defender, this program ensures that all individuals in custody have access to legal representation at their first appearance before the court.  It has also acted as a catalyst for other counties to examine their practices.

Board of Supervisors

2/9/2006

Los Angeles

A Disaster Waiting to Happen at LA County General Hospital

Improved care of jail ward inmates and reduced risk to general population in the hospital

Law and Justice-Adult

11/1/2005

San Benito

Water System Project

City of San Juan Bautista and San Benito County Water District have resumed talks and a tentative agreement on the role each will play in the city’s water system upgrade has been reached

Waste Management-Water Quality

6/30/2005

Butte

Development and Land Use in Butte County, Planning Privation in the Land of Natural Wealth and Beauty

Citizen group is standing by to file a ballot initiative or go to court to stop new development until the county implements and abides by consistency policy.

Planning and Engineering

6/30/2005

Sacramento

Homeland Security:  Ready or Not?

In the event of a terrorist attack, it could be the subject of verification that Sacramento County and its political subdivisions responded in a coordinated, effective manner under a unified, comprehensive master plan incorporating the services of all critical disciplines essential to the response and recovery from such an event.  .

Disaster Preparedness

4/1/2005

Nevada

Franchise Operations, Nevada County General Code

Franchise fees are now being collected in a timely manner.

Audit-Budget-Finance

6/30/2004

Fresno

In-home Supportive Services

8 of 21 recommendations accepted and implemented; four additional to be implemented

Health and Human Services

6/30/2004

Mariposa

Landfill Fees

Scale to be reinstalled and feasibility of assignment county employee being investigated.

Public Works

6/30/2004

Merced

Concerns of the Grand Jury

Grand Jury application and complaint forms updated; jury obtained email address; final reports posted on county website.

Board of Supervisors

3/1/2004

San Diego

Touch Screen Voting: The Future or Failure?

The Registrar of Voters is researching methods to best evaluate the ability of potential poll workers to use electronic equipment and plans to develop a survey/test to be completed prior to selection and assignment.  The Registrar of Voters plans a complete overhaul of its training program, including the training materials, classes and instructors, in consultation with a training professional.  Expanded troubleshooting guidance will be included in training materials.”

Clerk-Recorder

1/28/2004

Kern

City of Wasco

The City of Wasco Council members removed themselves from the WHA and replaced themselves with citizen volunteers from the City of Wasco.

Housing

6/30/2003

Madera

Uncollected Court Fees

Unpaid fines computerized, payment due notices reinstituted, and collection procedures were centralized resulting in increased county revenue. Note: This was a recipient of Excellence In Reporting Award

Board of Supervisors

10/30/2002

Riverside

Perris Valley Cemetery District

Board of Supervisors assumed responsibility for district

Special Districts

6/14/2002

Ventura

The Public Administrator and Public Guardian as Conservator

Additional staff hired to address problem

Public Conservator-Guardian

1/30/2002

Kern

Kern County Law Library

The County Board of Supervisors, Board of Law Library Trustees of Kern County, Law Librarian and staff can be applauded for a job well done.

County Counsel

12/12/2001

Kern

Special Education - Southern Kern Unified School District

The Final Report made the voters aware of the problems with the SKUSD in relating to the Special Education problems. The next election for the School Board of Trustees found a whole new Board was voted into office.

The Supt. of Schools resigned shortly thereafter. The parents of special education became more involved in the Board of Trustees meetings.

Education

12/12/2001

Kern

Use of Steroids In Schools

The dangers of steroid use to students in high schools is now being taught in many of the school district’s curriculum along with other warnings involving health warnings.

Education

12/12/2001

Kern

Kern County Emergency Medical Services

This report involved the major emergency response department for the County of Kern which was utmost in citizen’s minds since the 9-11-01 disaster in New York had recently occurred. The Kern County Grand Jury felt that their final report helped assure the citizens of Kern that their Emergency Medical Services Department was improved as the results of their investigation.

Health and Human Services

10/18/2001

Kern

Kern County Sheriff's Property Room

The Board of Supervisors authorized the addition of two new employees for the Prop. Rm. And the authorization to transfer $210,000 within the Sheriff’s budget to purchase equipment and remodel/upgrade the Prop. Rm. The new positions are essential to separate the officer equipment function and to handle the Prop. Rm. Workload that has doubled over the past 20 yrs. without a corresponding increase in staffing during that time

Sheriff-Coroner

6/30/2001

San Bernardino

Televising Board Meetings

Video tapes were provided to cable companies to allow the pubic to view Board of Supervisors meetings.

Board of Supervisors

5/30/2001

Contra Costa

Paid Travel to and from Work

Order to pay a mileage allowance to selected individuals for commuting to and from work rescinded and practice abandoned

City and County Government

5/16/2001

Orange

Abandoned Calls at the Child Abuse Registry

The county Social Services Agency said the department wanted to upgrade the abuse hotline and would try to implement the grand jury recommendations.

Health and Human Services

10/8/2000

San Mateo

Commodity Procurement Practices

Provided written information to cities, school districts, and special districts. County waived $200 enrollment fee and as of 6/10/02, 56 entities had enrolled.

City and County Government

6/30/1997

Kern

Kern County

County officials finally were planning on closing the loophole, and had taken the initial step of submitting such a plan to the civil service commission.

Board of Supervisors

6/30/1991

Humboldt

Potential Chlorine Gas Disaster

Report succeeded in bringing problem to public’s attention

Environmental

6/30/1989

Los Angeles

County Health Standards for Restaurants

Recommendation to grade restaurants implemented after ten years

Health and Human Services