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OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

REASON FOR REVIEW

Penal Code Section 925(a) authorizes the Grand Jury to conduct inquiries into the operations, accounts and records of officers, departments or functions of the County.

BACKGROUND

The District Attorney is the chief prosecutor for Amador County. He directs the activities of the Deputy District Attorneys and serves as Public Administrator. Other responsibilities include the administration of the District Attorney's Investigators, the Family Support Division and the Victim/Witness Program.

METHODOLOGY

The 1999-2000 Grand Jury review consisted of visits to the District Attorney's and Victim/Witness Assistance Program facilities, interviews and examination of various documents. Emphasis was placed on reviewing grants, adequacy of facilities, safety and security. (Cases currently under litigation were not reviewed).

Persons interviewed:

  1. District Attorney
  2. Chief Investigator
  3. District Attorney Administrator
  4. Administrative Support Supervisor
  5. Victim/Witness Assistance Program Coordinator
  6. Legal Secretary
  7. Family Support Officer
  8. County Auditor/Controller

Documents examined:

  1. Worker's Compensation Fraud Grant
  2. Automobile Insurance Fraud Grant
  3. Statutory Rape/Vertical Prosecution Grant
  4. Victim/Witness Assistance Program Grant
  5. Grant Financial Statements
  6. Staff Time Sheets
  7. 1999-2000 Final County Budget
  8. Budget Control Status Reports
  9. Independent Auditor Reports
  10. Policies and Procedures Manual
  11. Fire Safety Plan
  12. Security Plan

FACTS

  1. All grants adhere to the Grant Award Agreements.
  2. Independent grant audit reports found no instances of noncompliance.
  3. The Victim/Witness Assistance Program Grant is the only grant with a separate line-item budget.
  4. All other grant expenditures are incorporated within the District Attorney's annual budget.
  5. Planned Outreach Programs were delayed due to lack of staff.
  6. Clerical and storage areas are congested.
  7. Family Support Division files are not lockable, nor fire resistant.
  8. The facility has limited public access control.
  9. The facility lacks smoke alarms.
  10. Fire drills are not conducted.
  11. The facility occupants harbor concern for safety and security.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. The District Attorney appears to have a positive working relationship with the staff for which he is responsible.
  2. The four grants under the District Attorney's administration are managed within the grantor's requirements.
  3. The Victim/Witness Assistance Grant is the only grant within the Final County Budget with a separate line-item detail.
  4. The expenditures of the three grants without separate line-item detail within the Final County Budget are difficult to track.
  5. The planned Outreach Programs incorporated within each grant require completion.
  6. Areas occupied by clerical staff are at capacity, with cramped and cluttered storage areas creating an environment for potential safety and security problems.
  7. Inadequate file security within the Family Support Division places confidential information at risk.
  8. Facility occupant safety and security could be compromised by the lack of adequate public access control, inadequate alarm systems, lack of regularly scheduled fire drills and escape ladders not free of obstructions.
  9. The extensive use of exterior glass panels poses a threat to facility security, particularly after hours.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Provide a separate line-item budget for each grant in the Final County Budget.
  2. Complete the implementation of delayed grant Outreach Programs
  3. Enlarge clerical and storage areas to reduce congestion and improve employee safety.
  4. Provide lockable, fire resistant file cabinets and secure storage areas for confidential information.
  5. Install a facility access control system to improve public and employee safety and security.
  6. Install a smoke alarm system throughout the facility for improved public and employee safety and security.
  7. Perform regularly scheduled fire drills to educate employees in the use of fire extinguishers, evacuation ladders and other emergency equipment.
  8. Post directional signs for the location of emergency evacuation ladders.
  9. Post operational directions at the location of each emergency evacuation ladder.
  10. Provide an obstacle free landing area for each emergency evacuation ladder.

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