Yolo County Sheriff-Coroner Ed Prieto and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors announced Thursday the creation of an independent working group charged with evaluating “items of concern” identified in a grand jury report about Sheriff’s Department’s internal operations.
Titled “Yolo County Sheriff: Leadership Practices From the Wild, Wild West,” the 11-page report accused Prieto of engaging in nepotism, favoritism and intimidation that has led to low employee morale within the agency, but also noted no instances of willful or corrupt mismanagement.
The same day the report was issued, the Board of Supervisors, which had ordered the investigation, released a statement saying the probe failed to respond to the most critical complaints about the sheriff’s work environment and that “the grand jury’s findings, in many cases, are superfluous to the more serious allegations.”
Woodland Mayor Skip Davies will chair the working group, which, according to a county news release, also will take a “comprehensive look at the workplace climate, hiring processes, current training practices and employee evaluation processes,” then issue recommendations “where appropriate to improve the operational environment within the Sheriff’s Department.”
Prieto has encouraged representatives of the five labor organizations that serve the Sheriff’s Department to assist Davies in the working group.
“It is important to me not only that the issues raised by the grand jury be fully analyzed, but also that all of the employees within the Sheriff’s Department be provided an opportunity to be heard,” Prieto said in the county news release. “I fully support this effort and believe it will enhance my personal commitment and the department’s commitment to excellence and the performance of our duties with increased professionalism and integrity.”
Added Supervisor Don Saylor of Davis, who chairs the board, “The Board of Supervisors is encouraged by the sheriff’s support of a comprehensive evaluation. A safe and supportive work environment for all county employees is very important to the board, and any effort to strengthen that foundation is a step in the right direction.”
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene