Thursday, November 20, 2014

[San Bernardino County] LAFCO urges Community Service District consolidation

Community meeting scheduled for Dec. 10

November 15, 2014
Desert Dispatch
By Mike Lamb

Blog note: This article refers to a grand jury report. See text highlighted in red below.

BARSTOW — A meeting involving the communities of Yermo, Newberry Springs and Daggett will be held Dec. 10 to review a draft plan which recommends combining services from all three communities.
The Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino will be holding the meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at Silver Valley High School. A draft plan with several options will be presented to residents before being presented to the commission at its Jan. 21 hearing for action. That hearing will include an update from the community and outline of the public’s sentiments.
At a minimum, LAFCO’s staff position urges Daggett Community Service District and Yermo CSD to consolidate. However, the staff report recommends Daggett CSD, Newberry CSD and Yermo CSD form one district.
The staff draft report said such consolidation would benefit residents by providing consistent services, allow for flexibility in assigning resources, streamline governance and management, and provides for appropriate location of resources.
 The staff report says the Plan for Service shows that a consolidated district would be fiscally feasible during the five-year forecast period and beyond at a cost at or below that of the status quo.
The meeting comes on the heels of a 2012-13 Grand Jury report and several investigations by LAFCO. The 2013 San Bernardino County Grand Jury report investigated the Newberry CSD and identified numerous issues and challenges related to governance, accounting and financial management, and internal controls.
At a September 2013 LAFCO hearing, the commission initiated a special study for the Newberry CSD and the bordering Daggett and Yermo CSDs based on the 2012-13 Grand Jury report. LAFCO staff conducted visits to the three districts in November 2013. There was a second site visit to the Newberry Springs CSD in February because of director and staff changes.
The LAFCO staff report says a previous service review in 2009 was met with disdain and resulted in controversy.

San Francisco Civil Grand Jury Receives Excellence in Reporting Award

November 14, 2014
California Grand Jurors’ Association
Press Release

The California Grand Jurors’ Association has granted the Robert Geiss Excellence in Reporting Award to the 2011-12 San Francisco Civil Grand Jury for its report, “Deja Vu All Over Again, San Francisco's City Technology Needs a Culture Shock.”The report focused on the structure and management of technology within the City and County of San Francisco. Through extensive document inspection, over 40 interviews, meeting attendance and site inspections, the grand jury found:
  • outdated technology from the 1970s,
  • lack of coordination and cohesive vision among departments,
  • difficult-to-document waste that the underlying departmental cultures generate and
  • technology so decentralized and non-standard that no one had a handle on the severity of the problem.
The report received extensive coverage in local media. Four public hearings were held. As a result, San Francisco hired a new chief information officer and replaced two Department of Technology senior administrators to lead the effort in solving the problems.The Robert Geiss Excellence in Reporting Award recognizes a grand jury report that is of high quality, has a positive impact on the community, and increases awareness of the California grand jury system. The award was presented on November 13 at the association’s 33nd annual conference held in Burbank. Allegra Fortunati and Todd Lloyd accepted the award on behalf of the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury.

Todd Lloyd and Allegra Fortunati,
Members of the 2011-12 San Francisco Civil Grand Jury

The California Grand Jurors’ Association is a statewide nonprofit organization of former grand jurors with the mission “to promote government accountability by improving the training and resources available to California’s 58 regular grand juries and educating the public about the substantial local government oversight and reporting powers these grand juries have.”