Thursday, August 7, 2014

(San Benito County) Grand jury examines county, water district, school safety

July 31, 2014
San Benito County Today, Free Lance News
By Kollin Kosmicki

The current San Benito County Civil Grand Jury examined such issues as the recruitment for a county administrative officer, a Sunnyslope Water District project, lockdown procedures at local schools, lacking sheriff's deputies and outdated sheriff's vehicles.
Those were among the issues examined by the civil grand jury, a panel of 14 citizens tasked with examining public agencies. The grand jury issues a report each year detailing a list of issues examined, along with background information and recommendations. The government entities examined in the report are required by law to respond to the matters published in the report within 90 days.
As for the individual issues at hand, the grand jury looked at the county board's recruitment of a new county administrative officer, which ended up being Ray Espinosa. The grand jury, in looking at Espinosa's resume credentials, recommended that the county change its personnel ordinance to require degrees from accredited institutions.
The grand jury took a look at the Sunnyslope Water District as well. Its findings concluded that the Ridgemark wastewater treatment plant was the most viable option to the district and that the merits of the Hollister Urban Area Water Project are valid.
In examining the Hollister School District, grand jury members found that repairs were needed to solar panels at Cerra Vista School; glass-based entryway doors aren't the safest option for security purposes; new drop-off locations are needed at Cerra Vista School; and that there are building layout limitations at Maze Middle School in the event of a lockdown or hostage situation.
In the county sheriff's office part of the report, the grand jury expressed concern about having just two deputies on patrol during individual shifts, despite more hires on the way that would add some relief; no deputies being assigned to San Juan Bautista; and that sheriff's vehicles are not equipped with the latest electronics necessary for the job.

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