Appendix A - Summary of Complaints
The Grand Jury jurisdiction is limited to local government and local government officials. The one exception is the specific charge to review the function of all jails including state prisons in the county. When an issue is within the scope of the Jurys duties but is currently in litigation, the Jury is by statute prohibited from investigating the complaint. Likewise, the Grand Jury cannot investigate "irregularities in court proceedings or erroneous actions."
The 1997/98 Grand Jury received twenty-nine complaints. The Grand Jury referred four issues received late in its term to the next Grand Jury. Also referred to the next Grand Jury were two issues arising out of the Grand Jurys investigations. The Grand Jury initially reviewed each complaint and determined whether it had jurisdiction. If the Grand Jury determined it had jurisdiction, the jury members voted as to how to deal with the complaint. At least twelve votes were required.
Generally, the Grand Jury takes one of three actions. It sends a letter to the citizen, it investigates the issue and publishes an interim report, or it investigates and includes its findings in the results final report. The 199798 Grand Jury did not issue any interim reports.
During the year, the Grand Jury found that several complaints would never have occurred had public officials acted professionally. Citizens who felt they were treated disrespectfully by public officials filed complaints. The citizen may not have filed a complaint if treated courteously by the public official.
Complaints about officials ranged from publicly joking about a citizens concern to officials treating citizens in a dismissive manner. In each case, a little sensitivity by public officials would have prevented the citizens complaint. In our democratic form of government, public officials, and employees must treat citizens with respect.
Tables 1, 2, and 3 summarize the Grand Jurys activities.
Table 1-Citizen Complaints
|Nature of Complaint|
|Illegal use of fireworks and hazardous materials dumping|
|Zoning violation and County Counsel conflict of interest|
|Dispute over appointment of guardian and lack of autopsy|
|Claim of rude behavior by county employee|
|Public official made spectacle of herself at public meeting|
|Sheriffs Office failed to investigate an accident involving a deputys son|
|Alleged County job application required detailed sensitive information|
|Numerous allegations of wrongdoing at the County Drug Abuse Agency|
|Abuse of power by Amador City official|
|Abuse of power by Ione City officials|
|Complaint about earlier response issued by the Grand Jury|
|Complaint regarding child custody case|
|Allegation of poor security and escapes from Mule Creek Prison|
|Complaint about actions of private attorney and actions of court.|
|Allegation of lack of enforcement of building codes by Ione officials|
|Allegation of numerous wrong doings relating to the Jackson Police|
|Alleged violation of the Brown Act by the City of Plymouth|
|Numerous violations of the Brown Act and other issues by Plymouth City|
|Misuse of county stationary by county a employee|
|Poor management of a private mobile home park|
|Violation of Brown Act by School Officials|
|Improper activities by Jackson Police Department|
|Violation of Brown Act by Plymouth Officials|
|Violation of civil rights of inmate in county jail|
|Violation of the Brown Act by the Board of Directors of Pine Grove CSD|
|Mismanagement of water and sewer in Ione|
|Complaint against Amador City officials regarding various issues about city government|
Table 2- Grand Jury Actions
|Summary of actions taken by Grand Jury||Number|
|Referred to the employees supervisor||1|
|Grand Jury investigated and sent letter to complainant||13|
|Grand Jury investigated and included in it final report||13|
|Referred to the 1998/99 Grand Jury||4|
Table 3 Actions by officials that caused a complaint
|Action by elected or public officials||Number|
|Made disparaging remarks about citizen in public meeting||1|
|Trivialized a citizens complaint||2|
|Used elected office to carry out vendetta against neighbor||2|
Summary of complaints and actions not included as full sections in this report:
Action: The Grand Jury sent the citizen a letter referring him to the proper government officials with jurisdiction over the issues in his complaint.
Action: The Grand Jury determined that no conflict of interest existed because the issue related to a city matter over which the county had no jurisdiction. The Grand Jury interviewed the complainant and sent a letter to him relating its findings.
Action: The Grand Jury determined this to be a dispute between private parties and not within the Grand Jurys authority. The Grand Jury sent the complainant a letter regarding its findings.
Action: The 1996/97 Grand Jury reported on the problems in the County Archives and made several recommendations for improvements which the county agreed to implement. The 1997/98 Grand Jury sent the citizen a letter with a copy of the previous Grand Jury report and the countys responses.
Action: The Grand Jury determined it had no jurisdiction regarding court actions. The Grand Jury notified the citizen of this determination in writing.
Action: After consulting with the County Counsel, the Grand Jury referred the letter and the Grand Jurys concern to the employees department head.
Action: The Grand Jury advised the mobile home park resident that this matter was not within its jurisdiction and suggested the citizen seek legal assistance.
Action: The Grand Jury obtained the police report of the incidence and found the actions of the officers involved to be fair and appropriate. The Grand Jury sent a letter to the citizen explaining its findings.
Action: The Grand Jury determined it lacked jurisdiction and informed the complaining party of this in writing and recommended the individual seek legal assistance.
Action: The Grand Jury reviewed the countys applications, determined that they were easy to comprehend, and requested standard information. The form supplied with the complaint is used to hire law enforcement officers. The Grand Jury took no further action.
Action: The Grand Jury determined that it had no jurisdiction over public officials who make spectacles of themselves. The corrective action is in the hands of the voters.
Action: The Grand Jury determined that the district operated within the guidelines of the Brown Act and that the person with the potential for a conflict of interest has since resigned from the Board.
Action: The prisoner was held in jail on a probation violation occurring in Colorado. The Grand Jury determined the inmates incarceration was legal. Authorities returned the inmate over to Colorado authorities before the Grand Jury could respond to him.