City councils respond to grand jury report; Say no attempt was made to contact staff
Government agencies have until Sept. 30 to respond to the Glenn County grand jury, but a recurring theme emerged when the Willows and Orland city councils filed responses.
Orland City Manager Pete Carr said the grand jury made no attempt to contact city staff before it issued its June report, when it recommended the Orland City Council, Planning Commission and local businesses set standards that allow both safety and advertising in the downtown.
A similar complaint was made last year when county counsel Huston Carlyle addressed the conflict of interest claim by the Glenn County grand jury for his holding the interim position of personnel director.
Like Carr, Carlyle said he was concerned that the grand jury did not contact or interview him before issuing the report.
"I find this to be somewhat troubling since the grand jury concluded, incorrectly, that a conflict of interest exists simply because one person is doing two jobs," Carlyle wrote in his 2012 response. "I would hope in the future that if the grand jury intends to take someone to task, the targeted person is afforded the courtesy and due process of at least being interviewed."
This year, Orland and Willows were referenced in specific sections of the grand jury report, with two required responses from Orland and a single required response from Willows.
Willows City Manager Steve Holsinger said not only was he not contacted, the city was not given a grand jury report or notified that a response from the city was required.
"I learned about it from Pete Carr when he contacted me to see if the cities could do a joint response," Holsinger said.
Willows and Orland were referenced in the grand jury findings that Glenn County "can and needs" to be more aggressive in attracting businesses, and that simplifying or removing unnecessary restrictions and a review of fees and licenses would help make the county appear to be more business friendly.
Both cities agreed to the findings, and both responded that Willows and Orland actively participates on the Economic Development Commission and works closely with all regional agencies promoting Glenn County Business services.
Willows adopted its development impact fee schedule in 2010, and reviews it annually, Holsinger said.
Orland is in the process of updating its development impact fee schedule now, Carr said.
What Carr was most baffled by, however, was that the grand jury suggested there was a new issue for Orland in that there was a debate regarding the lack of street signs in the downtown area, posing a danger to pedestrians and traffic.
Carr said he was unaware that there had been a discussion or debate about the lack of street signs, and that the grand jury had not contacted anyone with the city to discuss their concerns.
"The problem is that the grand jury is dismissed the same day the report comes out, so there is really no one to contact after the fact for clarification," he said.
Carr did respond that the Public Safety Commission advises the City Council on safety-related issues and corrections and improvements are made when necessary.