Monday, August 31, 2009

Supervisors rankle at Butte County Grand Jury's assessment

Posted: 08/28/2009 12:00:00 AM PDT

OROVILLE — Butte County Supervisor Jane Dolan of Chico wants to make it abundantly clear to the Grand Jury that she is not happy seeing the supervisors characterized as being "surprisingly uninformed and uninvolved" about the county's Department of Behavioral Health.

On June 26, the Butte County Grand Jury issued its annual report with comments, findings and recommendations related to a range of county departments.

Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors had on its consent agenda a list of responses from the departments and the board to statements made in the Grand Jury report.

Consent agenda items are things that aren't considered controversial, and the entire list of items is routinely passed with a single vote. That's the way it goes unless a member of the board, a citizen or member of the staff asks to have the item pulled for public discussion.

That's what happened Tuesday when Dolan asked to have the Grand Jury responses removed from the consent agenda.

She had several "concerns" about the board's official responses, including those about a finding by the Grand Jury on the supervisors' performance when it came to alleged deficiencies in behavioral health.

The Grand Jury report cited that three unidentified supervisors were interviewed.

"The Grand Jury found the Butte County Board of Supervisors to be surprisingly uninformed and uninvolved in overseeing and monitoring the Department of Behavioral Health's fiscal affairs, structure management, and administrative decisions made for the department. When questioned, they were unable to answer most of the Grand Jury's inquiries about the department," the report cites.

Dolan, Bill Connelly of Oroville, and Kim Yamaguchi of Paradise all freely identified themselves as the three supervisors questioned.

Dolan said she "respectfully" disagreed with that finding, and went on to say she was essentially ambushed by the Grand Jury's questions.

She said she was asked to come before the jury for a "meet and greet. That is exactly how the invitation was issued to me."

The meeting began with a "very good interchange," but then it turned to "very specific questions about aspects of the behavioral health's organization, staffing, contracts, budgets, things like that," she explained

Connelly told a similar story.

"When the Grand Jury approached me about the fiscal doings of behavioral health, I tried to point out that we have a budget of well over $400 million — at least at that time we did — and I don't get down into the minutiae and details of individual departments," said Connelly.

Dolan said she was not prepared to respond to such questions, but that is not the same as being "surprisingly uninformed."

"I get reports. I read the reports. I ask questions. I do the very best I can to understand a very complicated department, in which there are multiple levels of funding decisions and multiple levels of regulations, requirements, ever-changing, that this board has no control over.

"Do I know every single thing that happens every single day in the multiple locations of behavioral health? No. Now, if that means I am 'remarkably uninformed,' I would challenge that. I don't think that is accurate," she said.

Yamaguchi said he too was surprised by the allegation, pointing out he is a member of the county's Behavioral Health Advisory Board.

Connelly wanted to make the point that supervisors "as a board," like and support the Grand Jury, but the jury "may have been misled. They came and asked us a series of questions that weren't our job to answer. "

Dolan began going into other aspects of the Grand Jury report, when Sang Kim, deputy county administrative officer, said it was clear to him what the board wanted to say in response to the behavioral health issue. But he told Dolan that in most cases the county has only three options in responding to the report.

The county can agree, disagree, or neither agree nor disagree with the report. In cases when the Grand Jury wants the supervisors to comment on the operation of another elected official's department, he said the response should be the "board neither agrees, nor disagrees, but the board is not involved in the day-to-day operations."

Connelly asked Dolan if she wanted to continue, and she said, "I'm done. Thank you very much."

Kim said the revised response to the jury's report will come back to the supervisors for approval at a later meeting.

San Bernardino County Supervisors Subpoenaed By Grand Jury

It has been confirmed that four out of the five San Bernardino County Supervisors have received a Grand Jury Subpoena. Yesterday we reported that Gary Ovitt and Neil Derry both received a subpoena. Today reports indicated that Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales and Second District Supervisor Paul Biane also received one.

The subpoenas were served Thursday when the San Bernardino offices of First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt were closed. The supervisor was in San Diego attending a function and will be traveling to Needles today. The rest of his staff was at the Hesperia office on Thursday.

As of Friday, David Zook, spokesperson for Brad Mitzelfelt, has not returned our call

Alpine grand jury report available to residents

The Alpine County civil grand jury 2008-09 has published its findings and residents may obtain a free copy at the Alpine County Courthouse in Markleeville.

The report represents 12 months of work by a dozen volunteer members of the community. Their sworn purpose is to act as an independent and confidential body to inquire into “county matters of civil concern,” as prescribed by the California Constitution. The constitution provides that the jury has legal counsel available at no cost, including a judge, the district attorney, county council, and the attorney general's office.

Each year the grand jury must review a specific county office or department. Also, it reviews written and signed citizen complaints alleging misconduct of government employees or elected officials, or inefficiency of government.

Reading the report allows the public windows into county operations. Otherwise, we depend on word-of-mouth about the departments and/or employees who are doing a good job. We rely on those volunteers' informed accounts.

This year's report by the grand jury reviewed the department of public works, since that department had not been reviewed for 18 years.

More than 20 individuals gave interviews and many documents were reviewed. The report cites both strengths and weaknesses in the department.

For example, it states that the construction of the Markleeville Library Park “involved a total upgrade to the grass area adjacent to the Markleeville Library.” The drinking fountain in the park was purchased for approximately $3,500. However, “due to improper installation,” the drinking fountain repair cost the taxpayer “approximately $4,000-$5,000 for the repair.”

The grand jury made several recommendations to the department of public works based on its findings. For example, Finding 25 states that “The three county large snowplow/sanders have exceeded the industry-standard of years in service as first-line equipment of usually 10-15 years. The years of service of the current county plows are two at 21-years, and one at 29-years. Each of these units new would be valued at approximately $160,000 each to replace.”

Correspondingly, recommendation 16 states, “The grand jury suggests the county address the immediate need to replace the three large snowplow/sander units. The minimum target the grand jury is recommending is to replace one within a year, the other two at three-year interval each for the result of three new units within seven years by 2016.”

After reading that section, a citizen would understand why the county would elect to purchase expensive equipment during these difficult economic times.

Will the department follow the recommendations? According to law, the department has 90 days to respond to the recommendations. The response must be one of the following: a summary regarding the implemented action; a timeframe to implement the action in the future; an explanation of why the matter needs further analysis and a six-month plan to review necessary information; or an explanation of why the recommendation is not warranted or not reasonable.

Several issues regarding both elected and appointed personnel are reviewed in the report. Individuals must respond to recommendations within 60 days. The board of supervisors will receive a copy of the responses.

The final part of the report includes sample documents, e-mails, and reports, as well as information about requirements and applications for grand jury service.

The Grand Jury for 2009-10 is now accepting letters from Alpine County residents. Submit letters to Alpine County Grand Jury, P.O. Box 102, Markleeville, CA 96120.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Humboldt County planners in Grand Jury's sights

James Faulk/The Times-Standard
Posted: 08/19/2009 01:15:33 AM PDT

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a response to a recent Grand Jury report that looked into the county's Community Development Services Department and accusations that it's inefficiently operated and that some employees there have acted inappropriately.

The Grand Jury points out that reform within the department was started in 2005 with the establishment of the Permit Reform Committee, which over the following year developed 16 reform initiatives that began implementation. The momentum, however, has fizzled, the jury's report points out.

”Unfortunately, the Permit Reform Committee has not continued to meet regularly and has not completed its work,” the report states.

The report then commends the department for the undertaking, and acknowledges that “increased responsibilities assigned to CDS in recent years have made it difficult to continue the implementation.”

But the public remains concerned about the process, and more reforms are necessary, the report state in its recommendations.

The report also outlines the concerns of some in the

community that employees within the department favor slow growth for Humboldt County and have pursued that “biased agenda” in the course of their work.

Referring to a specific accusation of such behavior through omission in a recent proposed ordinance amendment, the jury said mistaken information was given to the Planning Commission and could have impacted its decision in the matter.

The jury recommended an online permit tracking system to allow applicants the chance to monitor their projects. The department's Web site is currently housing some misinformation, or missing data, the jury concludes, and a thorough review is necessary.

Additionally, the director of CDS, Kirk Girard, should ensure that codes in staff reports are quoted fully or that deletions are clearly noted.

In its response, the county pointed out that reform implementation continues.

”The board continues to monitor the effectiveness of the reforms implemented and most recently received an update from the Community Development Services director at its March 24, 2009 meeting on the largest reform initiative currently in progress,” the response states. That initiative is a tracking system similar to the one recommended by the jury.

The reform committee, meanwhile, will reconvene in October, the county said in its response. And the Web site is in the process of being reviewed and updated.

In other business, the county sent a letter to the state Fish and Game Commission requesting that a meeting of the commission be held in Eureka.

”While we understand budget constraints, we feel that the northern counties do deserve a scheduled meeting,” the letter from board Chairman Jimmy Smith states. “As you are aware, Humboldt and Del Norte counties have most of the salmon and steelhead trout in the state and are leaders in watershed restoration. We have an abundance of sportsmen and healthy commercial and recreational fisheries that deserve attention.”

Lastly, the Public Health Branch of the county Department of Health and Human Services set Sept. 22 as the date for a public hearing on the proposed reduction of services at Willow Creek Clinic.

”A reduction in Public Health Realignment funding during the 2009-2010 fiscal year forced the re-examination of programming throughout the Public Health Branch,” said the staff report.

The elimination of the one-day-a-week Adult/Women's Reproductive Health Clinic at Willow Creek Clinic will save the department $64,000 -- no small change in tough times.

Public Health Branch Director Susan Buckley said that even with the cost savings, the county would keep the services available if there weren't five other providers already doing the job in eastern Humboldt County.

”If the other providers are there and able to serve the community, it's best for us to step out,” she said.

Other services at the clinic will continue without change, she said.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grand jurors lambaste Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District


The 2008-09 Shasta County grand jury today blasted the Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District in a report detailing allegations of mismanagement, credit card abuse, harassment and other misconduct.

The district spent almost $40,000 in taxpayer money on longtime manager William Hazeleur’s personal legal bills, provided him with pre-retirement raises and arranged for a cushy retirement package, the grand jury found.

In their most strongly worded report in recent years, jurors recommended the board members who approved Hazeleur’s retirement pact should resign. The jurors also called on the city councils of Shasta Lake, Anderson and Redding and the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, to scrutinize future mosquito district appointees more closely.

Of greatest concern, jurors said, was the district’s handling of a negotiated retirement package for Hazeleur.

But the grand jury also wrote about a situation that began in 2005, when Hazeleur, now 65, became engaged in a personal legal conflict with the spouse of an SMVCD employee. Each of them eventually obtained a restraining order against the other, the jurors reported.

Those court battles racked up $45,000 in personal legal fees, of which $38,000 was paid by the district, the grand jury report said.

Hazeleur said in a telephone conversation this afternoon that he has not yet seen the grand jury's report, but maintained that he ran an efficient and financially solvent district and defended his management decisions.

He also said that he did not want to leave.

"I wanted to stay," he said. "That district was my life."

District board members held a special meeting this afternoon, but declined to specifically address the issues contained in the report because they said they haven’t had time to fully review it.

Board president Larry Mower said board members have 90 days in which to formally respond to the report, and will do so.

Board member John Dunlap, who joined the board only a few months ago, defended the district, saying its operation is “first class” and he hopes the work it performs to control diseases is not overshadowed by the grand jury’s report.

The district, he said, is “extremely well-functioning” and its operation is state-of-the art. “This district is not out of control,” he said.

The grand jury’s report, headlined “Just compensation or just a gift?’, said that Hazeleuer’s retirement package awarded him a $29,000 lump sum payment when he retired June 30.

That retirement package was negotiated by board members to convince Hazeleuer to retire in the wake of a nasty dispute with an unidentified employee who had been accused of abusing a district credit card, the report said.

Jurors also questioned a 13.5 percent salary increase granted to Hazeleur last July when other employees received raises of only 3.5 percent.

“The Grand Jury found that the board of trustees used taxpayers’ money to entice the manager into retirement by granting extra wage increases and payments, paying for a leave of absence amounting to more than $40,000 and allowing the manager to remain as an employee while using accrued vacation time until retirement,” the jury report said.

Board members also reimbursed Hazeleur $6,900 for lumber (stored at the district’s Anderson headquarters) which he “regarded as his own without proof of ownership, condition or its original cost,” the report said.

Although jurors said they were able to confirm credit card abuses by the unnamed employee, the report said that the abuse was due to carelessness on the worker’s part and was not intentional fraud.

But Hazeleur, who was not referred to in the report by name, failed to apply appropriate disciplinary action against the employee for misuse of the SMVCD credit card, the report said. He also failed to follow the district’s grievance procedure when the employee alleged a hostile work environment, the report said.

According to the report, the employee improperly used an assigned SMVCD credit card to buy gas and pay for smog certification for his personal vehicle and to pay for a meal for which a receipt already had been submitted for reimbursement.

After realizing the errors, the employee reported them to the district’s administrative assistant, the report said.

Hazeleur verbally reprimanded the worker and later took away the credit card, the report said.

Some of the employees at SMVCD told the grand jurors that Hazeleur repeatedly berated and threatened the employee with criminal charges.

As a result, the employee hired an attorney and filed a complaint with the Employee Risk Management Authority, which investigates workplace wrongdoing.

“A majority of the trustees stated to the grand jury that because of a fear of a lawsuit from the employee they agreed to pay $15,000 toward the legal fees of the employee who had misused the SMVCD credit card,” the jury’s report said. “One trustee told the grand jury that the board of trustees wanted to “smooth things over” and another trustee said that the board wanted to “make it (the issue) go away.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Officials balk at mental health court plan

County officials are balking, at least for now, at a Grand Jury recommendation that a special court for mentally ill offenders be created to divert more people from jail into treatment instead.

Critical issues include not only the cost and staffing needs in tight budget times, but also the shortage of housing programs where the offenders could recover successfully, county managers said in letters to be reviewed Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

In a report issued in June, the Ventura County Grand Jury said officials should establish such a court, as most of the state’s 58 counties have done.

These courts can pay off for both the taxpayers and the mentally ill, but they vary markedly in effectiveness, a mental health expert said.

“If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen one,” said Rusty Selix, executive director of the Mental Health Association in California.

Selix said the best mental health courts are “incredibly effective,” cutting costs for incarceration and hospitalization as well as helping people to get their lives back on track.

But Ventura County law enforcement, mental health and legal officials suggested such a move might be premature. The broad range of county staff needed to work in the court probably can’t be spared now, managers said.

Selix said counties with successful courts have judges who understand the concept and a strong community mental health system. One component of that community program is housing, but Ventura County mental health officials said there isn’t enough of it locally.

Such units typically provide rent subsidies and case workers to help residents get transportation and employment, manage their medication and handle life skills such as cooking and banking.

In partnership with other agencies, the county Behavioral Health Department has developed 141 permanent units of housing offering support services for mentally ill people, with another 48 units in the pipeline, Director Meloney Roy said. But gaps still exist, she said, and additional funding would have to be found.

In its report called “Mentally Ill Housed in Ventura County Jails,” the Grand Jury recommended converting an existing diversion program into a permanent mental health court.

Jurors said that on average, 20 clients are enrolled in the diversion program, called the Multi-Agency Referral and Recovery Team. But many are barred because of the type of offense they committed.

People committing violent crimes or with a history of violence are not considered, Chief Deputy Public Defender Jean Farley said. Specific crimes that could exclude an offender include sexual assault, domestic violence and drunken driving. Usually those whose primary problem is substance abuse are not suitable, prosecutors said.

Of 203 people reviewed for eligibility, 76 were deemed suitable, 59 entered the program and 14 continued with voluntary treatment, the Grand Jury said.

One critic said it’s not enough. “It works in a handful of cases, but it is not close to being a mental health court,” said Ratan Bhavnani, executive director of the Ventura County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

District Attorney Greg Totten and Public Defender Duane Dammeyer are not opposed to a mental health court, while both Roy and Sheriff Bob Brooks support the idea. But all question whether they could assign full-time staff as the Grand Jury wanted.

“The MARRT (diversion) program is a valuable program and should continue to play an important role in the criminal justice system. ...” Totten wrote. “There is not, however, a present need to assign personnel full-time to a mental health court.”

About 160 to 190 people in Ventura County’s jail system are being treated for mental illness on an average day, the Sheriff’s Department says. They are accused of crimes ranging from petty theft to murder, according to sheriff’s officials.

Bhavnani said many cases could be handled in mental health court, rather than sending those individuals through the normal court process. He said public officials could determine the types of cases the special court would consider, barring serious felonies if they chose.

Some mental health courts consider every type of mental health case, including involuntary commitments and insanity pleas, Farley said.

“We can’t not afford it,” Bhavnani said. “Times are difficult, we understand that, but we as a community need to look at where are we spending the money and what is the right thing for people least able to protect themselves.”

Read the report

Sunday, August 9, 2009

County, board respond to grand jury pension report

The county of Ventura and the board that runs the county pension fund have both issued replies that agree in large part with a grand jury report that labeled the county’s pension obligations “an uncontrollable cost.”

The county Board of Supervisors and the Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Agency generally agreed with the grand jury’s assessment of the problem, but they did not concur with some of the grand jury’s proposed solutions. The civil grand jury is a group of volunteers who investigate waste or corruption in local government. All of its reports must be answered in writing by the agencies being investigated, and the replies to the pension report were released on Thursday.

The county’s annual share of its retired employees’ pensions has more than tripled over the last 10 years, far outpacing the increase in total salaries. The county will pay about $140 million this year to its retirees, and that figure could double over the next five years.

However, both the supervisors and the Ventura County Employees’ Retirement Association said the grand jury made the problem appear worse than it really is by starting its comparison in the late 1990s. Pension contributions by local government were unusually low in that period because the stock market was generating huge returns that were applied to retirees’ pensions.

The county rejected the grand jury’s recommendation that it form a committee to study the idea of shifting from a “defined benefit” pension to a “definied contribution” plan, much like 401(k) accounts that many private-sector workers have. That change is not necessary and would make it harder for the county to compete for employees, the county’s response said.

The grand jury also recommended that any proposed increases in employee benefits should go before the county voters. The supervisors said this might be beneficial someday, but it is not necessary now, because the board has denied requests for more generous benefits.

The county agreed with the grand jury’s recommendation that when the pension fund earns more than it needs in a given year, it bank the “excess earnings” for future years. But VCERA, which controls the excess earnings, said it will continue to decide how to spend them on a case-by-case basis. Most excess earnings have been banked, but in some cases they have been used to increase benefits.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tehama public works director rebuts grand jury criticism

RED BLUFF - Tehama County's public works director wasn't given a chance to thoroughly answer concerns of the grand jury before it issued a stinging report that questioned his planning and procedures, he said Friday.

"We had our discussion and then they went away," said Gary Antone, who expected a follow-up meeting with questions he was prepared to answer.

"And it didn't happen and that was a little frustrating," he said. When he saw the report, "I thought, 'Good grief, we are already dealing with all these issues.' "

In the final document filed in June, the 2008-2009 grand jury said Antone needed a Standard Operating Procedure Manual, should develop a plan for permanent road repairs and should be more personally involved in inspections.

Additionally, it called for a formal training program for equipment operators and planning more "shovel ready" projects. Antone has until Aug. 21 to respond.

"I will obviously let them know that it's disheartening that information was not verified," he said.

Tehama County Supervisor Ron Warner, who chairs the county's public works committee, said Friday he believes the investigation was prompted by disgruntled employees.

"I was kind of upset that they (grand jurors) didn't do him the courtesy of coming back and talking to him," Warner said. "I know that he was working on or just about to complete everything that was in that grand jury report."

Antone said he's been revising policies and procedures since he took the post four years ago and is more than halfway through a new document. And in that period, the department has replaced two bridges, completed $3 million in major maintenance on 14 roadways and finished the Bowman intersection and other projects.

"I feel very confident that the Public Works Department as a whole is moving in a very positive direction," Antone said.

But not surprisingly, funding is an issue. Antone has had to trim his staff to 70 from an allocation of 80.

Gas tax for roads could be the next obstacle, as the state may withhold that money to be repaid in January.

"We can get through this year, but if it's not recovered, that means $3.5 million for roads alone," Antone said.

Preparing "shovel ready" projects isn't so easy, he said, considering the tricky timeline and required environmental review.

Antone spent 19 years with Red Bluff Public Works before taking the county post.

Saying he's very open to constructive criticism, he also has "some real heartburn" over the report. "Nevertheless, it is what it is," he said.

As director, Antone oversees roads, flood control, transportation, bridges, engineering and the wastewater plant.

Reporter Janet O'Neill can be reached at 225-8216 or at

Plumas County Grand Jury expresses concerns about jail operations

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer

This year’s Grand Jury Report continued the trend of the last three years with increasingly negative reviews of the state of the county jail.

All grand juries are required to review any jails in their area on an annual basis.

The report said the jurors conducted two inspections of the jail with supervisory and correctional staff. They also had one additional meeting with staff.

The report began with a short history of the jail, constructed in the 1970s for a maximum capacity of 37 inmates. The jail also housed the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office’s administrative headquarters at that time.

“In the 1980s Plumas County was sued by an inmate alleging unsafe conditions in the jail because of a lack of staff.

“Plumas County lost the lawsuit and under court order, brought staffing up to minimum standards.

“In the 1990s a separate administrative headquarters was purchased for the Sheriff’s Department. This allowed enlarging the jail capacity to 67 inmates.

“Unfortunately, staffing of the jail was not sufficiently increased even with the almost doubling of inmate population.”

The report specifically said the jail is in worse shape than last year’s report indicated.

The report said, “A new jail is not for the convenience of the inmates—it’s for the safety of our correctional and safety officers and the general public.

“After our tour of the jail, the grand jury found that correctional officers and the general public are in more danger than is realized.

“While the building of a new jail may be several years away, the process toward a solution to this problem should begin now.”

Specifically, the report indicated, “The jail is in very poor structural condition. Due to its outdated floor plan, poor radio communication in some areas and other serious concerns, it is unsafe for officers and inmates alike.

“In addition, the jail itself, as well as the maximum security exercise yard, abut the public road into the transfer facility—a road used by families in our community.”

The report said some of the county supervisors hadn’t toured the jail recently and recommended all supervisors tour the jail annually to keep apprised of conditions there.

The report went on to list more specific problems with the 35-year-old facility, one of the last linear-designed jails in California.

Because of the design and understaffing, corrections officers cannot easily observe inmates in some areas of the jail.

In addition, the jail is overcrowded throughout all security levels in the men’s and women’s areas.

The grand jury deemed the perimeter fencing insecure; personnel safety and jail security are compromised. The public, including children, can easily approach the perimeter and pass weapons, drugs or other contraband for inmates to retrieve later.

The jail’s plumbing, electrical wiring, kitchen and laundry facilities are inadequate. The control room and the medical rooms are not secure, and there is a lack of storage.

Because the jail pre-dates now mandatory computer systems, computers and surveillance cameras, with their required conduits and cables are wall-mounted and exposed to inmate access.

On the topic of acquiring a new jail the report suggested “The Board of Supervisors should actively engage in efforts to elevate Plumas County’s position on the list and secure the funding.

“In addition, the Board should challenge its state representatives to support funding of a new combined facility.”

The report said supervisors recently established a committee to meet with state representatives. The report suggested the supervisors also appoint a citizens advisory committee to research building costs, locations and financing for the new jail.

The report indicated the supervisors were agreeable, and the grand jury stressed it should be formed within the next three months.

The report also recommended the sheriff assign a task force within the sheriff’s office to provide “detailed documentation to support the need for a new jail facility.”

Immediate Future
In the meantime the grand jury suggested several steps be taken to make the jail safer in the short run.

“Additional fencing and signage need to be constructed to provide for an exclusion zone so that persons may not approach the inner, recreation yard fence.”

On the topic of staffing the grand jurors were concerned that only two officers worked evening and graveyard shifts. In the event of an emergency, the required control room officer would have to leave his station to come to the aid of the second officer.

The evening shift is especially critical: There are only two officers on duty. Special programs are taking place; inmates are not in their cells and the majority of new inmate books takes place.

The report went on to comment the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has found the jail is understaffed by at least five correctional officer positions.

The grand jury recommended the board fund civilian positions to staff the control room, leaving trained corrections staff free to work within the jail.

The report also recommended immediate installation of a hard-wired communications system, with repeaters in the jail. On the status of communications between the jail and dispatch, the report said “Internal repeaters with a hard-line system to the dispatch center or other adequate systems needs to be installed before an officer or inmate is injured or killed in an emergency.”

The report commended the correctional officers who work in these conditions, saying, “In spite of inadequate staffing and facilities, the staff of the Plumas County jail does an outstanding job in serving the citizens of Plumas County.”

It added, “Progress towards replacement of the jail needs to move forward and existing critical needs must be addressed.”