Local News

Grand jury finds government humming despite cuts

By April 2, 2011

Investigations into six public agencies led to Friday’s ho-hum report from the county’s grand jury despite depleted staffs and accusations workers doctored their time cards.

The grand jury commended the six agencies it investigated as “generally performing well” despite lower budgets and smaller staffs. The grand jury released final reports on six agencies: the county jail and juvenile hall, the elections office, part of Yolo County’s General Services Department, the Yolo County Housing Authority and Woodland’s police department.

The grand jury releases the rest of its reports on June 30.

The grand jury looked into the Elections Office during last year’s November midterm elections. Jurors found staff “welcoming and informative” and operations were “organized and operated smoothly even during peak periods.”

However, voters suffered “significant crowding with long lines” at Woodland Community College, the report continues. The college played home to two polling stations, which led to confusion — “Some voters discovered they were in the wrong line.”

The grand jury inspected the county Housing Authority because it did so last year after a resident complained about safety issues in Riverbend Senior Manor in West Sacramento. In its follow-up investigation, it found safety, security and staff responsiveness improved over “shortcomings” from the year before and made no recommendations for improvement.

An anonymous charge of doctoring time cards in Yolo County’s General Services Department was “unfounded,” the grand jury reported.

However, a threat of fraud exists because of the department’s “failure to use electronic timekeeping or software that verifies the actual time of employee arrival and departure.” The department’s hourly employees check into work using an Excel spreadsheet, which doesn’t record when a worker checks in, but instead when a worker claims to check in.

The grand jury recommends the department implement electronic timekeeping to ensure accuracy.

By law, the agencies have 90 days to respond to the grand jury’s findings and recommendations.


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