Grand jury releases report

The Plumas County Grand Jury released its 2018-2019 report, the full contents of which can be found in this newspaper.

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors and affected entities have 180 days to respond to the findings and recommendations in the report.

Earlier this year, the grand jury issued a portion of the report pertaining to the Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District and its service to the city of Portola.

The full report contains a portion dedicated to the county elections department, as well as a compliance report from 2017-18.

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“It should be noted that the Civil Grand Jury conducted other investigations during 2018-19, but ultimately determined not to proceed to final reports as to those matters,” wrote Howard Johnson, the grand jury foreperson in the report’s introduction.

Howard noted that the grand jury had received 12 complaints, broken down as follows: cannabis working group appointments, 4; planning commission appointment, 2; misuse of personal information regarding law enforcement, 2; Brown Act violations, 2; road maintenance 1; and board of supervisors working against cannabis initiative, 1. Of those complaints, six were reviewed with no action taken, and the remaining six were referred for follow-up by other entities.

As for Portola’s fire protection services, the grand jury recommends that the city continue in its relationship with the Eastern Plumas Rural Fire Protection District and sign a joint powers agreement.

“The City of Portola and Eastern Plumas Rural Fire have set a high standard of collaborative teamwork for Plumas County,” read the report.

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Elections

The grand jury devoted a lot of time to reviewing the operations of the county’s elections division and found that the “Elections Division is well-organized in its approach to ensuring an accurate vote count.”

The elections division is one of three tasks performed by the Plumas-County Clerk-Recorder’s office and the grand jury found that the office is short staffed and recommended that the county administrator inquire as to why the vacant position remains unfilled.

The grand jury also recommended that the board of supervisors approve funding for the purchase and installation of new voting equipment and software.

And though the division is well run, the grand jury advised that the elections division develop a written policies and procedures manual for its office, particularly “in the event that one or more of the Elections Division’s key personnel should depart the Division or otherwise be unavailable, particularly at or about the time of an election.”

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Compliance

When the grand jury issues a report, it specifies the entities that should respond to its recommendations. There are four options: the recommendation has been implemented with a summary of action taken; it will be implemented with a timeframe provided; further analysis is required; or it will not be implemented with the reasons why stated.

This grand jury reviewed the recommendations made by the previous grand jury with and the corresponding responses.

Last year’s grand jury focused on child protective services, animal control and the jail. All of the recommendations were responded to, though some weren’t timely. For a full list of the recommendations and responses, see inside for the report.

The grand jury

“It has been a privilege and honor to serve on the 2018-19 Plumas County Civil Grand Jury,” wrote Johnson in his letter attached to the report. “I thank the jury members for their many hours of work and dedication in making these reports possible.”

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This year’s grand jury began with 19 members and concluded with 17. He mentioned that “one of our members (Laura Shirley) passed away in September of 2018. She was a hard working member and was greatly missed by all.”

The remaining members were Mary Arthur, Brian Waller and James Williams, of Portola; Brian Marcus of Cromberg; Jon Cappleman of Twain; David Kinney of Greenville; John Blackburn of Westwood; Marshall Brautigam and Sherrie Bridgeman of Chester; Chad Wallace of Canyon Dam; David Truax, Shannon Lawson and Sandra Palmer, of Quincy; Howard Johnson of Blairsden; and David Battaglia, William Harvey and Jackson Harris of Graeagle.