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Responses to 1997-1998 Grand Jury Report

Amador City

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Comply with all provisions of the Brown Act. Agreed Brown Act provisions will be reviewed.
Declare a conflict of interest when council member serving on a committee has personal conflicts with citizens. Agreed Council members were reminded of this obligation.
Disclose in public meetings the subject of all correspondence unless the closed sessions provisions of the Brown Act protect the correspondence. Agreed Implemented.
Send a courtesy copy of letters to individuals. Agreed Implemented.

City of Plymouth

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Contract with large users needing untreated water to generate additional income. Agreed Negotiating contracts.
Establish a more equitable water rate for commercial users needing untreated water. None Not addressed.
Continue pursuit of a long-term solution to Plymouth's chronic water problem. None Not addressed.
Encourage the formation of an organized Veterans group. None Not addressed.
Explore methods to improve communication between the council and citizens. None Not addressed.

Jackson Police Department

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Appoint an independent review board to investigate allegations of favoritism and low morale. Disagreed City Council stated there were no instances of favoritism and officers meet informally to discuss items of mutual interest.
Cancel Police Chief's contract. Disagreed City Council has strong faith in Chief's ability to manage his department.
Contract police protection from the Sheriff's Department or pursue a joint agency agreement with other cities. Incomplete Study made and on hold until COPS grant expires.
If the city continues to operate its own Police Department, conduct a search for a replacement chief from outside the Department. Agreed Prospective employees will be solicited without regard to their present employment.
Require that the Police Chief review, approve, and sign all reports of felony crimes. Agreed Implemented.
Establish guidelines for dealing with situations relating to potential conflict of interest in an investigation. Agreed Implemented.
When a crime involves a potential conflict of interest, turn investigation over to an impartial law enforcement agency. Agreed Implemented.
Implement clearly defined minimum qualifications for all positions within the Police Department. Agreed Implemented.
Establish an ongoing training program regarding racial and sexual discrimination using an outside resource. Disagreed Training provided in house is both more cost effective and more convenient.

City of Sutter Creek Police Department

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Contract police protection from the Sheriff's Department or pursue a joint agreement with other cities. Disagreed City Council favors retention of its independent police force agency
Replace Chief from outside police department. Disagreed City Council is pleased with current Chief who was recruited from within department.
Require Police Chief to review, approve, and sign all reports of felony crimes. Disgreed Police Chief feels this is a department matter, not a requirement.
Establish guidelines for dealing with situations relating to potential conflict of interest in an investigation. Agreed Policy being implemented.
When a crime involves a potential conflict of interest, turn investigation over to impartial law enforcement agency. Agreed Outside agency has to be willing to accept the case.

Mule Creek State Prison

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Recommend the posting of signs near the prison reading: "You are in a Prison area. Beware of hitchhikers." Incomplete Further analysis required due to sensitivity to the prison by the Ione community.
Rearrange beds and lockers in the Level 1 dormitory to eliminate hiding places. Disagreed Staff was consulted for a configuration that would eliminate hiding places. The staff found the current configuration is the most efficient for security issues.
Construct a control room with a 360-degree unobstructed view of the Level 1 dormitory. Disagreed The California Department of Corrections has developed standardized design criteria for all inmate housing units that will achieve the maximum benefits in cost efficiency, maintenance, operation and custodial care.
Place security wire on all fences in the areas accessible to Level 1 inmates. Agreed Request originally denied by California Department of Corrections. Need is currently being evaluated and, if policy changes, razor wire may be installed.
Park all State vehicles in a locked and secure area when not in use. Disagreed Not reasonable. The National Institute of Corrections did a study and noted that MCSP has an exceptional ability to quickly account for all institution vehicles.
Staff the front gate booth to prevent contra- band and unauthorized people from entering or leaving unchallenged. Incomplete This issue is currently being evaluated by the Department of Corrections.
Institute a full-time outer fence patrol of the prison grounds. Disagreed MCSP has an outside Patrol Sergeant and an assigned officer to patrol the perimeter or the electrified fence.

Amador County Unified School District School Board

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Revise Board by-laws to include a policy to require on-site training on the Brown Act and the Board's roles and responsibilities for incoming Board members. Agreed All Board members received training in their primary areas of legal responsibility. A Mission Statement has been established.
Require Board Members to review and abide by conflict of interest laws. Agreed Conflict of interest forms have been developed and required from each trustee.
Establish clear authorities and responsibilities in writing for the superintendent to carry out board policies. Hold the Superintendent accountable as the Chief Executive Officer of the Board. Agreed Working with legal counsel, the Board has established a set of responsibilities for the Superintendent. Sets of roles to govern the Board's responsibilities were also established.
Update board policies and by-laws. Agreed The district and board has undertaken a comprehensive review of all of the policies that govern the operation of the organization. This review is being conducted under the guidance of the California School Boards Association. Once completed, all policies will be agendized for Board review and approval in a series of public meetings.
Perform annual board self-evaluation as prescribed in the by-laws. Agreed The Board has adopted a formal evaluation instrument and has begun the process of self-evaluation.
In agendas, include a brief, concise and understandable description of each issue and the available options the Board may use. Agreed The Board and Superintendent continue to refine the agenda process to make it more understandable and easy to follow.
Prepare Board minutes that are readable and understandable by the public. Make minutes comprehensive and accurately reflect the Board's actions. Agreed The Board is committed to providing an accurate picture of the essence of the discussions involving all agendized items and the action taken. Some meetings have stretched for more than five hours. It is not feasible to record all comments made by Trustees or speakers in a meeting of this length.
Approve all expenditures before checks are issued. Agreed Purchase Order listings will be approved by the Board prior to work taking place. Once work is commissioned, the District is obligated to pay vendors.
Explore methods to improve communications between the Board and citizens. Agreed All business and discussions should take place in an open and honest manner. News releases are prepared by the Superintendent regarding actions taken by the Board.

School Maintenance

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Centrally locate support functions for increased efficiency or divide them between more than one administrator. Disagreed Office and support facilities are located in Ione. Relocation is not feasible at this time.
Remove obsolete boiler room equipment from school sites. Agreed As funding becomes available to remove obsolete equipment the District will begin the process.
Explore the possibility of providing computer maintenance to school sites. Agreed The district is in the process of hiring a Coordinator of Technology.
Repair the handicap ramp to the portable building at Jackson Elementary to make it safe for use by disabled persons. Agreed Ramps are checked on a regular basis to ensure their safety. Some ramps were replaced this year.
Provide extra custodial staff to school sites when special events are held. Agreed The district will look at additional means of providing extra staff as warranted.
Acquire an Internet account for all schools and maintenance to be connected via modem for quick work order submittal and response time. Agreed The district is part of the Golden Net project. All school sites are scheduled to be connected to the District Office by the end of the 1998-99 school year.
Provide equal maintenance attention to all school sites. Disagreed No one campus receives preference over another.
Implement a plan to provide adequate parking space and traffic control for schools. Agreed The District dropped its home-to-school transportation fee. It is hoped this will increase bus ridership. Several school parking lots were resurfaced and stripped.
Provide materials and tools for on-site personnel to use in making repairs. Agreed The District has established the priority in maintenance of ensuring that workers have the tools, skills and materials to get their jobs done.
Upgrade electrical services at Jackson elementary. Agreed The District is concerned about the electrical capability of several schools. Upgrading on these campuses will be a major and costly undertaking.
Develop a facility maintenance plan that includes funding, preventive maintenance, maintenance prioritization, staffing and organization of support services. Agreed ACUSD maintains a deferred maintenance plan that is updated annually under State mandates. The District will develop a regular plan of preventive maintenance for various school site functions to include air conditioning, heating and plumbing.
Establish vehicle replacement plan with certain key elements. Agreed This is a priority item that had been identified for the 1998-1999 school year.
Obtain portable equipment, such as heating and air conditioning units, to provide service while repairs are made. Agreed The District will investigate the feasibility of this recommendation.
Provide reliable portable communication equipment for maintenance workers. Agreed Steps were taken to ensure that each of the maintenance workers has a cell phone and a pager for communications on the job.
Increase the maintenance staff so they can better perform tasks needed at individual schools. Agreed District staff will begin reviewing hiring practices and standards that have been established in this area.
Use high school Regional Occupational Program (R.O.P) students to assist with maintenance projects on school campuses. Disagreed Under the state standards that established the ROP mission, students are not to be used to supplant employees of an organization. ROP projects at local sites have been most successfully focused on campus improvements such as new landscaping, storage buildings, and recently, new classrooms.
Increase the pool of substitute custodians available. Agreed The District will review this recommendation and discuss strategies for pursuing it.
Revise job descriptions for maintenance workers. Agreed This will be a priority during the school year. 
Standardize hiring practices for custodians (Maintenance Level I). Agreed With the hiring of a Director of Personnel, this issue will be addressed.
Provide additional funds to the maintenance department budget specifically earmarked for the specialized and continuing education training for all maintenance workers, including the on-site custodial staff at individual schools. Agreed The district will establish a staff development mission through its personnel office.
Purchase software for a tracking system to manage maintenance requests and priorities. Agreed A comprehensive plan to link all sites will be installed by end of 1998-99 year. Maintenance office staff has devised an "in-house" method of keeping track of work orders on the computer by school site and type of project.

Special District Audits

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
Provide information to all special districts regarding the option and procedure for obtaining multi-year audit approval. Agreed The Auditor will make sure every special district has a copy of 26909 of the Government Code.
Continue the practice of assisting special districts with their annual Financial Transaction Report for the State Controller's office. Agreed Although not required by law, the Auditors office will continue this practice.
Conduct periodic workshops to review both the auditing requirements and the Financial Transaction Report requirements. Disagreed Assistance is given when needed. Special districts should take some responsibility in managing their own district affairs.
Audit or contract for audits of any special district failing to submit an audit as required by law. Agreed The Auditor's office does not have staff to audit special districts. Therefore, we will contract for audits for special districts which do not provide for their own.

Amador County Computer Policy and Procedures

1997-1998 Grand Jury Recommendations Response Comment
The County Board of Supervisors adopt the draft policy with these considerations:
A. Provide policy covering Internet use. Agreed A policy regarding Electronic Systems and Information Assets including acceptable use of internet has been submitted to the Board of Supervisors.
B. Include a waiver for the employee to sign stating they have read and understand the policy. Agreed Included in draft policy.
C. Provide a more definitive statement about disciplinary action for violation of the policy, including who is responsible for enforcement. Agreed Included in draft policy.
D. Provide for random audits of computer use, who is responsible for auditing, and how often audits are to be performed. Agreed Included in draft policy; however, at the current staffing level of Data Processing, the ability to commit staff to regular audit schedules is limited.
E. Include information regarding the requirements to provide for virus protection of computers. Agreed Amador County owns a site license for anti-virus software which is loaded on each county computer.
F. Provide guidelines regarding proper hardware and software acquisition procedures. Agreed Included in draft policy.
G. Provide information regarding software copyright and licensing agreement. Agreed Included as addendum to draft policy.
Adopt standard office software. Disagreed WordPerfect is the standard word processor in the county. Some departments interface with other agencies and use MS Word. The needs of the department are paramount in selection of software.
Provide appropriate training for software. Agreed During the 1997-1998 fiscal year training in standard programs used was provided. Departments should provide their own training on any department specific software.
Assign additional personnel to the County Data Processing and Communications Department. Agreed Additional funding for increased staffing will be requested.
Assign the responsibility for standardization of software, equipment, and computer use to the Data Processing and Communications Department. Disagreed A statement of policy by the Board of Supervisors would be necessary to extend authority of this department.

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