Saturday, August 27, 2016
Grand jury, Sutter County supervisors at odds over CPS
Sutter County supervisors responded to the final grand jury reports earlier this week, largely agreeing with most findings but taking issue with recommendations on Child Protective Services.
The grand jury suggested "CPS social workers should have their reports go to the Superior Court, essentially unedited by management," said Curtis Coad, the interim county administrator. "We do disagree with that, and we think it could involve a lot of liability to the county and wouldn't work."
In its CPS report, the grand jury noted multiple employees have quit or retired due to low morale and grievances that were not addressed by CPS management.
The grand jury suggested employees rate their managers yearly. The Board of Supervisors, however, rejected that, saying "such a process might encourage managers to inappropriately curry favor with their subordinates."
The grand jury, which said management limits decision-making capabilities and authority of social workers, recommended caseworkers have the ability to make their own recommendations independent of management.
Supervisors disagreed, saying, "The department's managers are ultimately responsible — legally, professionally, and morally — for ensuring the facts presented by individual social workers are accurate, consistent with department policy and state law, and reflect what is thought to be in the best interest of the child involved.
"The grand jury seems to be implying that the department managers, who themselves are experienced social workers, somehow detract from this process. The Board of Supervisors strongly disagrees with any such implication."
Current drug testing procedures put employees at risk of communicable diseases, violates personal privacy rights, and displays a lack of training regarding urine collection, according to the grand jury.
Supervisors said the grand jury's recommendation to follow all current OSHA guidelines about urine collection will not be implemented because "the policies and procedures regarding this function already follow all current Cal/OSHA guidelines."
The grand jury said the current CPS facility is lacking appropriate security measures to protect the clients, representatives of the county and county property.
Supervisors declined to implement the grand jury's recommendation of hiring a security guard and install video surveillance for the main lobby and parking lot, saying it is "not warranted and not reasonable," and that the county will continue to offer trainings regarding safety practices when working with the public.
August 26, 2016
By Rachel Rosenbaum