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San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will consider response to grand jury report

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Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:56 am, Tue Aug 31, 2010.

In response to this year's county grand jury report, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will consider on Tuesday its response to topics ranging from the Mary Graham Children's Shelter to a Muslim mosque planned for Morada.

The proposed responses are on the so-called consent calendar, meaning the responses will not be discussed unless someone requests that it be pulled off the consent calendar.

Here are some of the responses the board will consider:

Polling places: The Grand Jury recommends that the county seek state legislation allowing it to conduct elections by mail only, saying it would save the county $500,000 per general election by not having voters go to a polling place. The county registrar says that he will evaluate the Grand Jury's recommendation and advise the Board of Supervisors.

The Grand Jury also advised the county to reduce the number of precincts with voting machines for special-needs voters to five. The registrar said he will evaluate that proposal as well.

Morada mosque: Staff agrees with the Grand Jury's finding that the county complied with the California Environmental Quality Act and gave adequate public hearing notice about a 14,000-square-foot Muslim mosque to serve up to 282 people on a 2-acre site on the eastern Highway 99 frontage road between Morada and Hammer lanes.

The Morada Area Association opposed the project, which the Board of Supervisors approved in 2009.

Committee appointments: County staff says it is studying a recommendation that the county do more to publicize openings on its many committees, such advertising them on Twitter, movie theaters, TV, radio and public events.

County staff also says it already reviews committee appointees' performance and has a process to remove someone from a committee, contrary to the Grand Jury's claims.

However, county officials say they don't have the personnel to conduct criminal and credit background checks on applicants to committees, as the Grand Jury recommends.

Mary Graham Children's Shelter: Staff admits that employee morale is not as great as its officials would like, especially on swing and graveyard shifts, but administrators say they make an effort to recognize employee work with personal notes of appreciation, special meals and bake sales. Mary Graham is a countywide center in Stockton serving abused and neglected children. • Child Protection Services: Staff says it doesn't understand how the public doesn't know how to complain about social workers. The Grand Jury said the department has failed to provide a policy describing process for citizen complaints against personnel. Administrators say they are working on a policy for the public to follow.

Grand jurors, who released their final reports in June, opened 15 new investigations over the past year and followed up on nine open investigations from previous juries. They also visited and reviewed county law enforcement agencies and holding centers, including a prison in Tracy.

Overall, the Grand Jury reviewed 50 complaints, 19 of which were not within the jury's jurisdiction.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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