MENDOCINO CO., 4/24/18 — Do you want to get more involved in your county government — without the hassle of running for office? Are you concerned that the public needs to be paying closer attention to where exactly all those dollars from the county coffers are going, or whether the most recent ballot measures are actually being enforced? If these kinds of things keep you up at night, you might be a good fit to serve on Mendocino County's next grand jury. And lucky for you, the deadline to apply has been extended until May 18, so there's still plenty of time.
The Mendocino County Grand Jury consists of 19 members of the public, who "are empowered to investigate the operations of county, city and district governments; provide civil oversight of local government departments and agencies; and respond to citizen complaints." The term is for one year, and the jury members set their own meeting times and agendas while preparing their reports.
In the past, reports by grand jury's have examined funding for the county's libraries, inefficiencies in the county's mental health services, family and children's health services, discrepancies in the county's election process, building and planning code requirements and more — and have led to changes in county's services. You can see some of the past reports here.
California county grand juries are a curious entity, rooted in the same traditions, but functional distinct from the criminal grand juries that indict people for crimes. Instead of being convened specifically to indict someone, each county convenes one which stands all year, and investigates the functions of local government. Especially significant is their power to subpoena. They mostly produce reports, but do have the authority to bring indictment if they choose. The existence of grand juries themselves evolved in the Common Law out of the gradual gradual process of the king of England asserting his authority over feudal lords — and we still have them.
Training will be provided and a small amount of compensation, including reimbursement for travel costs, is offered. Applicants must be 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, have resided in Mendocino County for one year, not currently hold another public office or be involved in a political campaign, and not have been convicted of a felony. Applicants will also be interviewed by a Mendocino County Superior Court judge prior to their appointment.
Here's the full press release, including the details on how to apply:
Court Extends Deadline to Apply to Serve on the Next Grand Jury
The Honorable Jeanine B. Nadel, Chair of the Grand Jury Recruitment/Selection Committee has extended the deadline to submit applications to serve on the 2018/2019 Grand Jury to May 18th, 2018. The 2018/2019 Grand Jury will be sworn in at the end of June, 2018 (date to be announced).
Service on the Civil Grand Jury is an excellent opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government, while providing a valuable service to the community. The 19 members of the Grand Jury serve for one year and are empowered to investigate the operations of county, city and district governments; provide civil oversight of local government departments and agencies; and respond to citizen complaints. The Grand Jury sets its own agenda and meeting schedule. Much of the work is performed in small committees allowing for considerable flexibility in the work schedule and meeting locations.
Grand Jurors are compensated $25 per full panel meeting, $10 per committee meeting and committee attendance at public meetings. Mileage is reimbursed at the current County of Mendocino rate. There is free onsite parking. Prior to being nominated, each qualifying applicant is interviewed by a Superior Court judge. Training for Grand Jurors will be provided.
To serve as a Grand Juror, the following requirements must be met:
- At least 18 years of age
- United States citizen
- Resident of Mendocino County for at least one year
- Sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English
- Not currently serving on any other governmental board or commission during the term
- Not presently holding a public office
- Not convicted of a felony
- Not personally active in any campaign of a candidate for elective office
Applications and related information are available on the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino website. The application may also be obtained in person at the Superior Court, 100 North State Street, Rm. 303, Ukiah or by calling the Grand Jury at (707) 463-4320.
For more information contact:
Kim Weston, Administrative Assistant Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino 100 N. State Street, Room 303 Ukiah, CA 954825 (707) 467-6437