​​These are the Summaries, Findings, Commendations, Recommendations, and Requests for Responses only. For the full Report, click here. Alternatively, all of the full Reports including this one can be found on the Shasta County Grand Jury's website here.

 
2015-16 Cover
 

Shasta County Veterans Services Office

Veterans' Lives Matter

SUMMARY


Shasta County benefits from the presence of a Veterans Services Office (VSO), located in Redding, CA. It is headed by a Veterans Services Officer, who reports directly to the Shasta County - County Executive Officer. Over the last year, the VSO has had three Veterans Services Officers, and is currently on the fourth, hired in February 2016. Nearly all staff, many of whom were seasoned Veterans Services Representatives, have retired or resigned, leaving few experienced individuals to serve the veterans of Shasta County. This has resulted in disruption of services, financial costs to the County, internal turmoil among staff, and frustration from the veteran community.

FINDINGS


F1. The VSO is open limited hours and does not make appointments, restricting public access.

F2. The VSO website lacks useful links and detailed and relevant information. 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Chart 2 Shasta County Veterans Services Office Walk-In Visits

F3. Veterans potentially fail to receive benefits because some files in the VSO have not received follow-up from the VSO.

F4. Veterans are not receiving all eligible benefits because there is not a comprehensive case management process in place.

F5. VSO staff performs tasks once done by Work-Study Program participants, limiting available time to help veterans with their claims.

F6. The VSO eliminated outreach to Burney, causing Northeastern Shasta County veterans to travel to Redding for assistance.

F7. Veterans potentially received reduced level of service as a result of the previous Veterans Services Officer’s time spent out of the office.

F8. Hiring Veterans Services Officers from outside Shasta County has created misgivings among local veterans.

F9. Currently, only one employee in the VSO is accredited, limiting ability to assist veterans with claims.

F10. Failure of VSO staff to attend State of California training has resulted in decreased reimbursement to the County’s General Fund.

F11. The Shasta County - County Executive Officer failed to provide adequate oversight of the VSO during changes in leadership, potentially contributing to substandard caseload followup and a poorly managed office.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to stagger current VSO staff start, end, and break times to allow hours of operation to include lunch, evening, and an occasional weekend day by September 30, 2016.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to implement a system by September 30, 2016, that will offer veterans the option of scheduling an appointment to meet with VSO staff.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to update the Shasta County VSO website to include links to Federal and State of California veteran benefits pages and National Archives by December 31, 2016.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to immediately implement a system to review all open, pending, and denied claims to ensure all are reviewed by September 30, 2016.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to implement within the VSO by September 30, 2016, a comprehensive case management process that will provide consideration for all eligible benefits available to veterans, including burial and survivor benefits.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to reinstate the Work-Study Program and posting a link to the Program application on its website by December 31, 2016.

R7. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to post notice and re-establish consistent and regular monthly outreach to Burney by December 31, 2016.

R8. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to ensure the Veterans Services Officer focuses on the functions of the office rather than attending non-vital community events.

R9. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to establish a hiring process by December 31, 2016, that will provide for encouraging and considering the applications of local qualified veterans when hiring a Veterans Services Officer.

R10. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors instruct the County Executive Officer to monitor progress of all newly-hired staff, including the Veterans Services Officer, to ensure anyone assisting veterans with claims will be accredited within one year of hire.

R11. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors direct the County Executive Officer to initiate a plan by September 30, 2016, for all VSO staff to attend available State of California trainings on an ongoing basis.

R12. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors immediately instruct the County Executive Officer to take a more proactive supervisory role over the new Veterans Services Officer.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F11

R1 through R12

 

Troubled Waters

Water Matters

SUMMARY


The combined dual roles of County employees within the Public Works Department (Public Works) and the Shasta County Water Agency do not provide a segregation of duties. This lack of segregation has resulted in over-purchasing water, overcharging of water supplied to County Service Areas, plant inspections not performed in a timely manner, unsafe drinking water, automatic rate increases established in possible violation of California Government Code, financial losses absorbed by the Shasta County Water Agency, and inappropriately managed financial accounting.


The Shasta County Water Agency (Water Agency) was formed as an independent water agency in 1957 to maintain 1,022 acre-feet of water supplied in Shasta County from the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Today, the Water Agency is no longer independent and is managed by the Public Works Department, but continues as a separate agency under that department. The Water Agency is staffed by Public Works employees, as dual-role employees, and the Director of Public Works also acts as the Chief Engineer of the Water Agency. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors acts as the Water Agency Board of Directors.


In addition, Public Works manages eleven active County Service Areas (CSAs), nine of which are small water and/or sewer systems. These CSAs are managed through Public Works as they are not independent water districts. The role of Public Works includes servicing and maintaining CSA water systems, inspections, water billing, water purchases, and rate setting. The role of Public Works management on behalf of the Water Agency is to purchase water at wholesale cost from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and resell it to the CSAs managed under Public Works. During the recent drought years, purchases of water from privately owned sources were made in 2014 and 2015.

FINDINGS


F1. The Water Agency/CSA Master Contracts with reference to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Master Contract #14-06-200-3367A are outdated.

F2. The Water Agency had no contractual right to purchase and charge water beyond the specific months (June and July) identified under Crag View CSA 23 “Replaced Water Contract.”

F3. The Water Agency over-purchased water from McConnell Foundation during 2014 and 2015 on behalf of Crag View CSA 23 and Keswick CSA 25, causing the CSAs to be overcharged. In addition the Water Agency absorbed losses from over-purchases.

F4. The 2014 overcharge for Crag View CSA 23 totaled $1,450.69, and Keswick CSA 25 totaled $16,872.34. Both Crag View CSA 23 and Keswick CSA 25 are due a refund. The projected amount of over-purchase and refund due to the CSAs will contractually occur for 2015.

F5. The total loss absorbed by the Water Agency for 2014 is projected to similarly occur for 2015.

F6. The same employee preparing the annual water agency billings to the CSAs is also approving the billings for payment. This lack of segregation of duties does not provide proper checks and balances to prevent errors.

F7. The Board of Supervisors acting as the Board of Directors of the Water Agency appears to be in possible violation of Government Code 53756, as it does not comply with all four elements for an automatic rate increase. Automatic rate increases can only occur for wholesale water purchases from a “public agency” (emphasis added). The McConnell Foundation water purchases appear to violate the provisions of the Government Code, because the McConnell Foundation is a private entity.

F8. Public Works failed to schedule a timely inspection of the newly installed Crag View CSA 23 Water Treatment Plant with the State Water Resources Control Board.

F9. Public drinking water for Crag View CSA 23 has contaminant levels reported in the 2014 Consumer Confidence Report for both TTHM at 88.40, and HAA5 at 100, which exceeds the allowable levels of the State Drinking Water Regulations for safe drinking water.

F10. The Board of Supervisors appears to have failed to ensure that the CEO worked with staff and Jones Valley residents to see if some of the issues identified could be resolved.

F11. The Shasta County Water Agency financial records reflect that it is sufficiently funded and covers expenses with appropriate cash flow to function independently from Public Works.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than September 30, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopts a plan to ensure that the Shasta County Water Agency replaces all contracts for all CSAs for wholesale water supply, as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Master Contract #14-06-200-3367A was replaced with Master Contract #14-06-200-3367A LTR1.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors conducts an audit of all CSA Master Contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to ensure that water purchases are made as provided under the provisions of the Master Contracts.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Auditor-Controller independently audits all CSAs and Water Agency financial records to ensure that water purchases and overcharges are appropriately refunded, and that sufficient measures are in place to prevent future errors.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than September 30, 2016, the Auditor-Controller refunds or credits the overcharges to Crag View CSA 23 in the amount of $1,450.69, and Keswick CSA 25 in the amount of $16,872.34, for water year 2014. The Grand Jury also recommends that the Auditor-Controller reviews overcharges for 2015 and refund or credit both Crag View CSA 23 and Keswick CSA 25 as appropriate.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than September 30, 2016, the Board of Supervisors initiates an internal audit of all financial transactions within the Water Agency to identify any and all losses not identified in the Grand Jury Report as a result of the overpurchase of water.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors reviews current practices to ensure that Public Works employees do not perform duties that allow both approving and overseeing their own work. This includes creating a policy to segregate duties to avoid conflict of interest, loss of revenue, and mismanaged billing/purchasing procedures.

R7. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than September 30, 2016, the Board of Supervisors revises applicable County Ordinances for Castella CSA 3, Jones Valley CSA 6, and Keswick CSA 25 to remove any automatic rate increase if determined through legal review to be in violation of Government Code 53756. The recommendation includes review of all other CSA County Ordinances to ensure that the County is in compliance with the Government Code.

R8. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors obtains proof that corrective action was taken regarding the five findings in the State Water Resources Control Board 2015 Inspection Report of Crag View CSA 23 Water Treatment Plant.

R9. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than September 30, 2016, the Board of Supervisors instructs the Public Works Director to develop written policies and procedures directing that all State Water Resources Control Board inspections of CSA facilities be scheduled and conducted in a timely manner to ensure public health and safe drinking water. The Grand Jury also recommends the Board of Supervisors annually review an inspection schedule of all CSAs under its authority.

R10. The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors establishes and implements a plan for Crag View CSA 23 for immediate corrective action to reduce, now and in the future, levels of TTHM and HAA5, which exceed the State Drinking Water Regulations maximum contaminant levels for safe drinking water. Because the levels are hazardous to the public, contaminant levels should be brought within allowable levels by September 30, 2016.

R11. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors develops a written procedure that establishes a timeline when addressing concerns (such as the Community Advisory Board’s request from the April 3, 2013, meeting regarding a feasibility study where follow-up is required by staff to conclusion).

R12. The Grand Jury recommends that no later than December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors initiates a feasibility study to establish an independent Water Agency, separate from any County structure such as the Public Works, with its own independent staff.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F11

R1, R2, R5 through R12


The Shasta County Auditor-Controller:

F4 through F6

R3, R4

 

A Mental Health Crisis, Following the Call

The First 72 Hours Matter

SUMMARY


Access to mental health stabilization services for people in a mental health crisis is lacking in Shasta County. The Grand Jury found that there is a significant gap in care during a mental health crisis, particularly when the Shasta County Mental Health Services walk-in clinic is closed during nights and weekends. Mental illness does not discriminate, is not self-induced or self-caused, and can affect children, teens, adults, veterans, and senior citizens. One out of four people in Shasta County suffers from a mental health disorder.


There are various reasons why people suffering with mental health conditions may choose not to seek treatment. Shame and discrimination associated with mental health problems create a stigma which prevents some people from reaching out for the help they need, and may delay treatment.


Public awareness of issues facing the mentally ill in Shasta County is gaining momentum. A proposal has been approved by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors for a Mental Health Resource Center to be located in Redding that could provide after hours and weekend mental health services. This seems to be moving Shasta County in the right direction.


Presentations to the Shasta County community by national mental health advocates have helped improve awareness for the need to rapidly stabilize patients who are experiencing an acute crisis. Prompt intervention helps prevent local emergency room visits and reduces the need for incarceration. A Mobile Crisis Stabilization Team has shown to be one of the most effective approaches, and would provide an immediate on-site response for people in a mental health crisis. Also, additional Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for law enforcement officers would improve their skills and help them recognize signs of a mental health emergency and respond appropriately.


This report discusses what happens within the first 72 hours after making a 911 call for help when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis in Shasta County.

FINDINGS


F1. There is a need for a Mobile Crisis Stabilization Team to reduce the strain on law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms, while providing vital care, support, and referrals to individuals and families experiencing a mental health crisis.

F2. The stigma of mental illness contributes to the use of hospital emergency rooms to access mental health services, resulting in crowded emergency rooms, delayed treatment, and long waits for all patients seeking medical or mental health care.

F3. The public, in particular families who are experiencing a first-time mental health crisis, is often not aware of available services at the Shasta County Mental Health walk-in clinic, resulting in lack of early intervention and treatment.

F4. The Shasta County Mental Health walk-in clinic is not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, resulting in the need to access care through hospital emergency rooms.

F5. Law enforcement officers may or may not have received Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) beyond that received during their academy training. Continuing updated CIT education in the recognition of mental illness and de-escalation techniques could help prevent transporting patients to hospital emergency rooms or county jail.

F6. There are only 16 adult psychiatric beds in Shasta County and none available for children. This results in delayed treatment, long waits in the emergency rooms, and separating patients from their support system. With the limited number of beds for adults and none for children, treatment time increases because of the time necessary for transporting patients outside Shasta County.


COMMENDATIONS


The Grand Jury commends Shasta County Mental Health Services for initiating its recent pilot program to co-locate county mental health evaluators in the two Redding hospital emergency departments. This program is intended to expedite the process of completing the mental health assessments and locating licensed psychiatric beds.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors direct Shasta County Mental Health Services to develop a plan that provides a permanent Mobile Crisis Stabilization Team in partnership with law enforcement to address crisis situations in the field, utilizing new Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopts a plan with Shasta County Mental Health Services to establish a Mental Health Resource Center with expanded hours to provide support and counseling services.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors directs Shasta County Mental Health Services to expand the hours of the Mental Health walk-in clinic, to include nights and weekends, until the proposed Mental Health Resource Center is open to the public.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors directs Shasta County Mental Health Services to initiate an ongoing campaign to promote public awareness of current mental health services available to children and adults in Shasta County.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the City of Redding City Council, City of Anderson City Council, and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office each adopt a departmental policy that requires Crisis Intervention Training, at a minimum of every two years, for all law enforcement officers, beginning.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopts a plan with Shasta County Mental Health Services to work with Restpadd and other interested providers to locate additional facilities in Shasta County that will increase the number of inpatient psychiatric beds for adults.

R7. The Grand Jury recommends that by December 31, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopts a plan with Shasta County Mental Health Services with detailed action and implementation timelines to establish a facility in Shasta County providing inpatient psychiatric beds for children.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F4, F6

R1 through R4, R6, R7


City of Redding City Council:

F5

R5


City of Anderson City Council:

F5

R5


Shasta County Sheriff-Coroner:

F5

R5


Chief of Police, City of Redding (invited):

F5

R5


Chief of Police, City of Anderson (invited):

F5

R5

 

The Quarter Million Dollar Typo

Words Matter

SUMMARY


A 2008 resolution with a typo, approved by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, will cost Shasta County taxpayers more than $260,000 from 2009 through 2023. The resolution omitted the word “appointed” from the staff recommendation to make appointed department heads eligible for a longevity stipend after completing 20 years of service. When this omission was discovered in early 2015, the legal interpretation of the resolution was that eligibility for longevity stipends also applied to elected department heads, retroactive to 2009. The Board of Supervisors decided to leave the 2008 resolution in place. The total amount of longevity stipends for two current and three future eligible elected department heads is projected to total $263,089 by 2023. The Shasta County Grand Jury found that awarding longevity stipends to elected officials is inconsistent with the purpose of the stipends, and is arguably an inappropriate use of public funds.

FINDINGS


F1. The word “appointed” in the Staff Recommendation was omitted from Resolution 2008-138 when it was prepared and signed. This resulted in the resolution later being interpreted to include both appointed and elected executive managers (department heads).

F2. As long as Resolution 2008-138 remains in place, eligibility of elected department heads for longevity stipends will continue indefinitely at the expense of taxpayers.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends that, no later than September 30, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopts a policy of proofreading draft resolutions to ensure that they accurately reflect the staff recommendations, and that the wording of final resolutions reflect the actual action taken by the Board of Supervisors.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopts a new resolution that clearly states that the longevity stipend is applicable for appointed executive managers (department heads), but not applicable for elected officials. The Grand Jury also recommends that all stipends end for elected officials effective at the conclusion of their respective terms of office, or December 31, 2018, whichever occurs first.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1, F2

R1, R2

 

Shasta Local Agency Formation Commission - Shasta LAFCO

No Laughing Matter

SUMMARY


The Shasta Local Agency Formation Commission (Shasta LAFCO) has endured legal battles, staffing challenges, and budgetary crises in recent years due to Shasta LAFCO’s failure to adequately monitor and respond to operational issues. Shasta LAFCO is on its third Executive Officer in as many years and is failing to fulfill its purposes and programs due to severe financial restrictions.

FINDINGS


F1. Shasta LAFCO failed to take timely action over concerns regarding meeting deadlines for Municipal Service and Sphere of Influence Reviews and financial instability, resulting in a class-action lawsuit and budgetary crisis.

F2. Shasta LAFCO violated Government Code Section 56381(a) when it made sharp decreases to staffing in its 2015/16 budget without first finding that reduced staffing will nevertheless allow the Commission to fulfill the purposes and programs required of Shasta LAFCO.

F3. Shasta LAFCO has not updated its fee schedule since 2013, leaving the possibility that it is not charging sufficient fees for its services.

F4. Shasta LAFCO has failed to take advantage of additional revenue sources by not charging for Municipal Service or Sphere of Influence Review updates.

F5. Shasta LAFCO has exposed itself to potential future risk of litigation by adopting its current five year plan to conduct Municipal Service and Sphere of Influence Review updates without consideration of recent instability of the Executive Officer position.

F6. Shasta LAFCO is not fulfilling its purposes and programs due to severe budgetary restrictions, partially because it has failed to sufficiently explore and act on all cost saving opportunities.

F7. Shasta LAFCO’s actions violate its own Policies & Procedures, because their policies and procedures have not been updated to reflect their actual practices.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends that Shasta LAFCO take action within 30 days of becoming aware of financial or staff concerns, and complete a comprehensive review of contracted Executive Officer performance at least bi-annually, commencing no later than December 31, 2016.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends that Shasta LAFCO revise its budget to return to prior year staffing levels to allow the Shasta LAFCO office to be open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and to fully comply with Government Code Section 56381(a) no later than September 30, 2016.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends that Shasta LAFCO review its current Fee Schedule and make revisions as needed no later than December 31, 2016.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends that by no later than December 31, 2016, Shasta LAFCO establish a fee schedule to charge for Municipal Service and Sphere of Influence Review updates.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends that by no later than December 31, 2016, Shasta LAFCO revise its five year plan for Municipal Service and Sphere of Influence Review updates to begin completing them in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends that Shasta LAFCO engage in cost saving efforts such as shared office space and personnel costs, shared insurance costs, reimbursement for costs from other agencies for providing them with assistance, and turning to the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions for hosting its website no later than December 31, 2016.

R7. The Grand Jury recommends Shasta LAFCO updates its Policies & Procedures no later than March 31, 2017.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta Local Agency Formation Commission:

F1 through F7

R1 through R7

 

Shasta County Sheriff's Office

Trust Matters

SUMMARY


The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for overseeing and administering eight trust accounts. These accounts hold money that does not belong to the Sheriff’s Office or Shasta County. Examples include State of California gun permit and fingerprinting fees collected at the Sheriff’s Office, cash deposited by or on behalf of inmates at the county jail, wage garnishments, and court collection fees. The Sheriff’s Office also maintains a trust account for cash seized as evidence related to an investigation. The Sheriff’s Office is not, however, responsible for cash or property seized under State of California or Federal asset forfeiture processes. The 2015/16 Shasta County Grand Jury investigated procedures relating to five of the trust accounts, as well as asset forfeiture activity. The Grand Jury identified several areas for management to make improvement. However, the Sheriff’s Office staff has made progress over the last three years and is dedicated, hard-working, and conscientious.

FINDINGS


F1. Sheriff’s Trust Administration Fund and Inmate Bank of America Account reconciliations contain old, outstanding reconciling items that should be resolved.

F2. Cash and property from adjudicated cases are not being returned to the legal owners or escheated to the Sheriff’s Office, because there is no Sheriff’s Office staff working on the backlog of cases involving seized evidence, and there are no policies directing appropriate disposal of assets.

F3. There are no monthly reconciliations between activity in Sirron and ONESolution, therefore it is undetermined if one system reconciles with the other.

F4. There is no monitoring of old unpaid accounts in the Wage Garnishment Fund, leaving the potential for the Sheriff’s Office to not remit monies due to claimants.

F5. There is not a process to review address changes entered by employees in Sirron, leaving potential for fraud or errors to occur.

F6. There is potential for loss of cash from new inmates being booked in Shasta County jail because there is no reconciliation between Keefe reports and booking sheets.

F7. There are no policies and procedures for the Sheriff’s Trust Administration or Wage Garnishment Funds relating to administering and reconciling the accounts, resulting in staff having no guidelines to administer the funds.

F8. There is insufficient supervision over trust fund reconciliation processes, leaving the potential for fraud or errors to occur.

F9. There is insufficient oversight of all Sheriff’s Office cash and property held as asset forfeiture, or in assets held in evidence, leaving the potential for fraud and errors to occur.


COMMENDATIONS


The Grand Jury commends the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office staff for initiating the debit card process, saving time and money.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office clears all old outstanding items in the Sheriff’s Trust Administration Fund and the Inmate Bank of America Account by December 31, 2016.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office hires temporary staffing by December 31, 2016, and implements a plan to clear the backlog of cases involving cash and property held in evidence by June 30, 2017.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller and the Sheriff’s Office initiate a process to reconcile the activity and balances between Sirron and ONESolution, and ensure that ongoing monthly reconciliations of the new process occur by December 31, 2016.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office initiates a monthly review of old unpaid accounts in the Wage Garnishment Fund by September 30, 2016.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office immediately initiates a monthly process where a separate employee reviews address changes made in Sirron.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office initiates a process by September 30, 2016, to reconcile all cash deposited in Keefe to the booking sheets for inmates booked for the first time into the Shasta County jail.

R7. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office creates policies and procedures by December 31, 2016, for the Sheriff’s Administration Trust Fund and Wage Garnishment Fund accounts relating to administration and reconciliation of the accounts.

R8. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller and the Sheriff’s Office ensure all Sheriff’s Office trust account reconciliations occur monthly, with old outstanding items cleared, by December 31, 2016.

R9. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller initiates a plan by December 31, 2016, to conduct more frequent surprise audits of assets held as evidence.

R10. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office assigns specific management personnel by September 30, 2016, to be responsible for the oversight of all aspects of assets held under asset forfeiture and in evidence.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Sheriff-Coroner:

F1 through F9

R1 through R10


Shasta County Auditor-Controller:

F3

R3, R8, R9

 

Shasta County Joint Audit Committee

Numbers Matter

SUMMARY


When the Shasta County Board of Supervisors entered into a multi-year, $434,000 contract in 2015 for annual audit services, it failed to adhere to the County's competitive procurement policy, the policies and procedures of the Shasta County Joint Audit Committee (as members of the Joint Audit Committee), and governmental "best practices". Further, the Joint Audit Committee did not authorize the Shasta County Auditor-Controller to negotiate the contract with the same company that has provided audit services to the County for the last eleven consecutive years. The Grand Jury also noted that the Joint Audit Committee has not actively engaged the Grand Jury Foreperson in the committee proceedings during the current term of the Grand Jury. Lastly, although the Auditor-Controller commendably maintains a fraud detection hotline, calls to the hotline go directly to the Auditor-Controller’s office, leaving the potential for selective tip investigation and follow-up.

FINDINGS


F1. The Joint Audit Committee’s current practices fail to follow its “Functions of the Joint Audit Committee” and “Membership and Officers” Policies and Procedures as they relate to the role of the Grand Jury and the RFP process.

F2. The Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, as one of the Joint Audit Committee Co-Chairs, is not including the Grand Jury Foreperson as the other Co-Chair, as required.

F3. The Board of Supervisors failed to adhere to County Policy 6-101 when it did not ensure competitive procurement requirements were followed for a multi-year contract for audit services.

F4. The Auditor-Controller failed to follow Joint Audit Committee Policies and Procedures and County Policy 6-101 by not issuing a Request for Proposal for a multi-year contract for audit services, or providing justification for not doing so.

F5. The Auditor-Controller maintains a fraud hotline accessible only by the Auditor Controller and one other staff member in his office, allowing the possibility for selective complaint (tip) investigation.

F6. The telephone number for the fraud hotline is not posted or available on the Shasta County web page or the associated Auditor-Controller Office’s page, making it difficult for employees or the public to report fraud via the hotline number.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors immediately requests the Joint Audit Committee to adhere to its “Functions of the Joint Audit Committee” and “Membership and Officers” policies and procedures.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors instructs its Chair, as Co-Chair of the Joint Audit Committee, to actively engage the Grand Jury Foreperson as an equal Co-Chair of the Joint Audit Committee within 30 days of each new Grand Jury empanelment and on a regular basis throughout each term.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors adheres to County Policy 6-101.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller follow the Joint Audit Committee Policies and Procedures as well as County Policy 6-101 when negotiating a new contract for audit services.

R5. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller work with the County Executive Officer to develop a fraud hotline voicemail messaging system that ensures that all fraud hotline messages are simultaneously and independently forwarded to both the County Executive Officer and Auditor-Controller, no later than August 31, 2016.

R6. The Grand Jury recommends the Auditor-Controller and County Executive Officer ensure that the fraud hotline telephone number is displayed in a prominent location on the Shasta County website and in all county employee facilities no later than August 31, 2016.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1 through F6

R1 through R3, R5, R6


Shasta County Auditor-Controller:

F4 through F6

R4 through R6


Shasta County – County Executive Officer (invited):

F5, F6

R5, R6

 

Agendizing Grand Jury Reports and Responses

Public Awareness Matters

SUMMARY


Reports are the primary way for a Grand Jury to communicate with the community. Therefore, it is important that both the reports and the responses to the reports are discussed within full public view. The 2015/16 Shasta County Grand Jury wanted to determine how a governing body discussion regarding Grand Jury reports is held when the reports and responses are placed on a consent calendar.


All governing bodies must, at a minimum, place any response to Grand Jury reports on their consent calendars. However, this process means that a public discussion by the members of the governing body is unlikely to be held regarding either the report or the response. In order to encourage open and public dialogue about Grand Jury report topics, it is recommended that all responses to Grand Jury reports be placed on the responding governing bodies’ regular calendars. Further, it is recommended that members of the governing body engage in a public discussion regarding the reports and the proposed responses.


The Grand Jury surveyed and reviewed agendas of Shasta County government agencies that were required to respond to any Grand Jury report since 2010. Of the 67 total special districts, one placed its response on a consent calendar; 20 did not place their responses on any agenda (“agendize”), did not send required responses, or both. The City of Redding City Council and the Shasta County Board of Supervisors placed their report responses on their consent calendars three times and four times, respectively, over the past six years. Both the City of Anderson City Council and the City of Shasta Lake City Council placed all report responses on their regular calendars over that time period.

FINDINGS


F1. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors discourages public awareness and open discussion of Grand Jury report responses by placing its official responses on its consent calendar.

F2. The Shasta County Board of Supervisors has failed to publicly discuss its own Grand Jury report responses, choosing instead to fully rely on county staff recommendations without any public discussion of the basis of their agreement with the county staff recommendations.

F3. The City of Redding City Council discourages public awareness and open discussion of Grand Jury report responses by placing its official responses on its consent calendar.

F4. The City of Redding City Council has failed to publicly discuss its own Grand Jury report responses, choosing instead to fully rely on city staff recommendations without any public discussion of the basis of their agreement with the city staff recommendations.


COMMENDATIONS


C1. The Grand Jury commends the City of Anderson City Council for encouraging public awareness and open discussion about Grand Jury report responses by placing its official responses on its regular calendar.

C2. The Grand Jury commends the City of Shasta Lake City Council for encouraging public awareness and open discussion about Grand Jury report responses by placing its official responses on its regular calendar.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Board of Supervisors places all Grand Jury report topics and responses on its regular calendar.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Board of Supervisors places its responses to this 2015/16 Grand Jury Report on its regular calendar for public discussion.

R3. The Grand Jury recommends the City of Redding City Council places all Grand Jury report topics and responses on its regular calendar.

R4. The Grand Jury recommends the City of Redding City Council places its responses to this 2015/16 Grand Jury Report on its regular calendar for public discussion.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

F1, F2

R1, R2


City of Redding City Council:

F3, F4

R3, R4

 

Shasta County Coroner's Office

Compassion Matters

SUMMARY


The Shasta County Coroner’s Office is often overlooked yet is an essential department that serves the entire county. The responsibilities of the Coroner’s Office are emotionally and physically demanding. Our local Coroner’s Office is an example of efficiency amidst many challenges.

FINDINGS


F1. The current square footage of the Coroner’s Office is inadequate for their needs.

F2. The lack of a transition room between the autopsy room and the office creates the possibility for biological contamination.

F3. The lack of an on-staff forensic pathologist decreases the efficiency and continuity of investigations.

F4. The lack of a digital x-ray machine limits the investigative capabilities of the Coroner’s Office.


COMMENDATIONS


C1. The Grand Jury commends the Coroner’s Office staff for their commitment and compassion to performing a difficult job for the community despite the challenges they face.

C2. The Grand Jury commends the Coroner's Office for conducting the “Choices of Life” program.

C3. The Grand Jury commends the Coroner’s Office for promptly updating the webpage after the need for an update was brought to their attention.


RECOMMENDATIONS


R1. The Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office uses the approved funding only for the completion of the 1,000 square foot addition to the Coroner's Office building.

R2. The Grand Jury recommends the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and Shasta County Board of Supervisors secure funding specifically for a digital, portable x-ray machine for the Coroner’s Office by December 31, 2016.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES


Shasta County Sheriff-Coroner:

F1 through F4

R1, R2


Shasta County Board of Supervisors:

R2

 

Sugar Pine Conservation Camp

Partnership Matters

SUMMARY


California Penal Code Section 919 (b) mandates, “The grand jury shall inquire into the condition and management of the public prisons within the county.” In June of 1988, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal-Fire) entered into a partnership to facilitate running Sugar Pine Conservation Camp, located 25 miles east of Redding in Shasta County.

FINDINGS

F1. Sugar Pine Conservation Camp inmates save state and county taxpayers $1.5 million dollars annually by providing firefighting and fire suppression work hours and projects.

F2. The partnership between California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CalFire, and camp inmates continues to allow efficient running of the camp.


COMMENDATIONS


The Shasta County Grand Jury commends the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as well as the support of local community organizations for their dedication in making this partnership work.


RECOMMENDATIONS


None.


REQUEST FOR RESPONSES

None.

 

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