Those who wonder what the 2016-2017 Lassen County Grand Jury has investigated this past year will find the grand jury’s report as a special insert in this week’s edition of the Lassen County Times. This report also includes responses from governmental entities to many of the 2015- 2016 grand jury’s investigations.
The Lassen County Grand Jury, empaneled by the presiding judge of the Lassen County Superior Court, is a civil grand jury, not a criminal grand jury. It’s function is to “oversee all aspects of the legislative and administrative departments that make up county, city and special district governments” and to guarantee “those who are given the responsibility of managing these offices are truthful, dedicated and sincere in their efforts to serve the public.”
The grand jury also investigates matters submitted by residents. A blank grand jury complaint form is included with the grand jury report. After an investigation is completed, the grand jury may make recommendations, and in some cases the governmental entities are required to make a response. The 2016-2017 grand jury received six complaints from residents, including two from Lassen County Child and Family Services clients alleging incompetence, lack of professionalism and conflict of interest within the CFS department. The grand jury also received a complaint about fire taxes from a special district collected by the Lassen County Tax Collector On its own authority, the grand jury also investigated detention facilities in Lassen County, including the California
Correctional Center, High Desert State Prison, the Lassen County Adult Detention Facility, the Lassen County Juvenile Detention Facility, the Intermountain Conservation Camp and the Federal Correctional Facility at Herlong. The grand jury also investigated the Lassen County Public Health Department.
In addition, responses to the 2015-2016 grand jury ‘s recommendations are included in the report as well. All 58 counties in California have grand juries. In Lassen County 19 citizens serve on the grand jury including Mark Nareau (foreperson), Steve Cagle (foreperson protem), Wilma Komick (alternate foreperson pro-tem), Barbara Smith (secretary), Lyn Voels (financial officer), Charles Androy, Richard Bendix, Daniel Blackard, Melissa Harrison, Jack Jacobs, Carole Menard, Matthew Pregill, Allen Quant, Natalie Rawson, Jeff Root, Beverley Smith, Williams Thrasher and Malory Wheat.
These citizens gave many hours their time to serve on the grand jury to conduct these investigations, make recommendations and then review responses from last year on the public’s behalf. Believe it or not, as soon as one grand jury’s work is done, another is formed and the 2017-2018 Lassen County Grand Jury is ready to fulfill its duties.
We thank all those involved with the grand jury process for their commitment to the residents of Lassen County.