Santa Cruz County

Board of Supervisors’ Response to

the 2000-01 Grand Jury Report

September 18, 2001

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

Response to 2000-01 Grand Jury Report


Table of Contents


Santa Cruz County Planning Department ........................................................................................ -1-


Santa Cruz County Fire Protection Services.................................................................................. -20-


Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District.................................................................................. -25-


Health Care Services for Low-Income Families ............................................................................ -26-


Blaine Street Women’s Facility..................................................................................................... -30-


Juvenile Hall Facility ..................................................................................................................... -32-


Main Jail ...................................................................................................................................... -34-


Rountree Facility........................................................................................................................... -36-


Financial Compliance Review of County Entities............................................................................ -38-




Santa Cruz County Planning Department

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 3



Grand Jury Findings


1.  The California Planning and Zoning Law (Government Code §65300 et seq.) requires adoption of a comprehensive long-term General Plan that determines the development of the county.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


2.   The Board of Supervisors determines the annual allocation of the maximum number of building permits to be issued in accordance with Measure J’s growth management program. The 2001 building permits allocations are set at 0.5% over the number of housing units on December 31, 2000.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


3.   Land use codes and ordinances are broadly constructed and, therefore, susceptible to multiple interpretations.


County Response: The County’s land use codes and ordinances are intended to provide direction for a variety of cases in a variety of circumstances. These regulations anticipate the need to apply the rules to many different circumstances.  The Planning Department is committed to consistency in interpretation throughout the department.


Personnel Findings


1.   The Grand Jury found that the department employees were cooperative and professional at all times. The Planning Director offered help, even during this very busy time in their department.


County Response: The County appreciates the work of the department staff.


2.  There are approximately 110 positions in the department, including 12 new staff positions recently approved by the Board of Supervisors.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


3.   The Graphic Information Systems department is a sophisticated operation and was very helpful in providing the Grand Jury with maps and other data.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


4.  The planning staff’s responsibility is to explain to applicants the limitations imposed on the applicant’s use of their own property by (1) state laws, (2) county codes and (3) county ordinances. Often these rules conflict with the property owner’s desires.


CountyResponse:   Staff's principal responsibility is to process building permit applications and discretionary permit applications. They are also available to provide information to the public and to applicants about the County’s land use and environmental protection policies. There are occasions when development proposals conflict with the county’s adopted land use policies or development standards. The Board of Supervisors has established procedures for allowing such applications to be reviewed and considered for approval, modification, or denial.


5.  Political influence by the Board of Supervisors places added pressure on the planning staff. Supervisors act for the best interest of their constituency. When membership on the board changes, direction from the supervisors changes.


County Response: Staff’s work is directed by land use policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Supervisors and by applicable state and federal regulatory requirements, policies, and procedures.  Members of the Board of Supervisors are elected in the districts to serve the interests of these communities.  The input of the community through the Board is always appreciated.  This input in appropriate and should be well received by staff.


6.   City governments in the county and many neighboring counties pay higher salaries than Santa Cruz County does. Salaries in Santa Cruz County government are based on a nine-county comparison using Contra Costa, Fresno, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.


County Response: The County uses several factors in setting salaries including the nine county comparison survey, internal alignment, compaction, CPI and other factors affecting particular classifications.  A full salary review of benchmark classes is conducted prior to the commencement of collective bargaining.  Through bargaining, positions are generally kept within the range of comparable positions in our comparison counties.          


The County has not conducted a comprehensive survey of the salaries paid by city governments and neighboring counties, and is therefore unable to comment on the accuracy of this finding. The nine comparison counties listed in the report are correctly identified.  


7.   Employee morale is low and turnover is at an unprecedented high. This resulted from failure in negotiations to successively challenge the nine-county comparison. At the peak, there were 24 vacancies in the department. This necessitated taking staff from the advanced planning section to cover shortfalls in other sections.


County Response:   The report provides no basis for the statements regarding employee morale, and therefore the County cannot comment on the accuracy of this finding.


      For a brief period during the second quarter of last fiscal year, there were twenty-four vacancies, which included twelve existing vacancies and twelve new positions which had been authorized by the Board of Supervisors. At this time, staff from the Advanced Planning section were temporarily reassigned to other sections of the department until recruitment for vacant positions could be completed. Advanced Planning staff have returned to their regular duties, and the Planning Department vacancy rate is currently in line with other county agencies.  


8.  The Personnel Department has been unable to attract the necessary people with requisite qualifications to fill vacancies in the Planning Department staff. Some vacant positions are difficult to fill because they are classified as temporary positions. The Planning Department requested hiring an outside consultant to assume the recruitment effort.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


At the time of the Grand Jury's inquiry, the Planning Department, like other County departments, was experiencing significant challenges in filling vacant positions. A variety of factors contributed to the problem including an extremely tight labor market and high local housing costs. The Board of Supervisors authorized the re-classification of positions from temporary to permanent.  The hiring of an outside consultant to assist with the recruitment effort proved unnecessary.  The Personnel Department went to extraordinary lengths to assist the Planning Department in filling vacancies and has been successful in that endeavor. 


9.   According to interviews with employees, workloads continue to be excessive. Also, employee performance evaluations have not been conducted on a consistent basis.


County Response: The County partially disagrees with this finding.


At the time of the Grand Jury's inquiry, staff was faced with extremely high permit activity and extremely high individual caseloads resulting from reduced staffing levels.  Permit activity has since moderated, and most sections of the department are operating at full staffing. During this period of time, employee performance evaluations were not always conducted in a timely manner because supervisors and managers were handling caseloads.  Supervisors and managers are working diligently to bring all employee evaluations up to date.


10.   The department has budgeted 125 computer classes, approximately one day’s training for each employee of the Planning Department. The managers of each section are responsible for budgeting additional training courses for staff as needed to enhance their skills.




County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


11.   The Planning Director has implemented a program to acquaint new hires with the operations of the department as well as familiarize current employees with functions of other areas within the department. Additional training for new hires is left to other employees in the area where the person works. The responsibility for ensuring that employees obtain continuing or additional training lies with each manager.


County Response: The responsibility for ensuring that employees obtain continuing or additional training lies with both the department trainer and each manager.  The department trainer has implemented a four-track training program for all department staff, and participation is mandatory.


12.   In the fall of 2000, the Planning Director has obtained approval from the Board of Supervisors for a new staff position devoted to training. This staff position will evaluate the training needs of the department and devise strategies and methods to satisfy those needs.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


As previously indicated, the position has been filled, training needs have been evaluated and strategies and methods have been devised including the development of a four-tract departmental training program.


13.   The Planning Director proposed that employees be assigned to planning teams to be responsible for virtually all the development activity in a particular geographical area. Each team leader will be responsible for acquiring a thorough understanding of the assigned geographic location.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


Development Review Section Findings


1.   Review of the 8 selected files revealed

·     7 of the 8 files selected were completed. The department is correctly handling the incomplete file. It is still incomplete because an outside agency, over which the Planning Department has no control, has yet to give its approval.

·     6 of the 7 completed files were processed in an average of three months; 1 took almost a year to complete.

·     3 of the 7 completed files were not shown as completed on the computer system.

·     1 file approved on June 1, 2000 erroneously showed a future hearing of August 4, 2000. As of April 4, 2001, it still showed as scheduled for that hearing.

·     1 file is shown as withdrawn however there is nothing in the file to support this.


County Response: Without specific information as to the files selected for review, the County cannot comment on the accuracy of this finding.


2.   Planners must possess a high degree of proficiency in diverse land use regulations in order to handle the increased development applications for “in fill” projects. These projects are located in heavily developed areas that require highly technical planning, engineering, geologic and/or hydrologic issues. According to the Planning Director, the current capacity of the department to administer such sophisticated processes is limited.


County Response:   Planning staff are well versed in a wide variety of technical fields. However, in some instances, only one employee may have the necessary qualifications in a specialty area (e.g. civil engineering or geology).   In addition, outside experts must occasionally be consulted. 


3.   A single development permit application may have several separate files associated with it. This happens when more than one reviewing department is involved. However, no cross-indexing exists for files in circulation. Anyone attempting to review these files has no way of knowing how many files exist. Only when the process is complete are the files put together.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


The Automated Land Use System (ALUS) includes a cross-indexing system for tracking files in circulation. The ALUS system also consolidates  comments of reviewing agencies which helps to identify  who is reviewing the various components of the permit application.


Building Permit Section Findings


1.         Review of the 10 selected files revealed the following:

·     9 of the 10 files were complete by the date of the review

6 Complete

3 Withdrawn

1 Not approved

10 Total


·     1 physical file could not be found

·     4 of the 6 files were completed in less than 45 days and the other 2 were competed in 60 days


County Response: Without specific information as to the files selected for review, the County cannot comment on the accuracy of this finding.


Code Compliance Section Findings


1.         According to the Planning Department’s Final Conversion Plan, the department has a policy of resolving code compliance complaints within four months.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


2.         At the end of the year 2000, there were 3,848 unresolved code compliance complaints. This represents more than three years of unresolved complaints. The Planning Director attributes the high backlog to the fact that code compliance staff worked on easiest-to-resolve complaints first to reduce the volume of unresolved complaints. The director also asserted that approximately 3,000 of the 3,848, that currently show unresolved in the computer system, should show resolved. These 3,000 are a combination of (1) old resolved complaints that are not shown properly resolved in the computer or (2) old complaints which are considered too minor to work on.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


The 3,000 cases showing as unresolved in the computer system are considered archived with  an "investigations complete" status. Staff concentrate on the remaining cases while continuing to address new incoming complaints. The active caseload culled from the backlog consists of the most serious code compliance cases, including those with health and safety implications, significant environmental damage, or other critical issues. The remaining backlog of cases remains in the system to be worked on as time and resources permit and to serve as a source to be drawn from when new or active cases affect the properties to which they relate.


3.         The computer listing of code compliance complaints received during the first quarter of 2000 indicates a “Priority Code” for each complaint type, consisting of Codes A, B, C. Listed below is a breakdown and a description of the priority code for the 258 complaints received:


  15      Code A – involving immediate threat to public health and safety

232      Code B – health or safety considerations but no immediate threat to the public

  11      Code C – low priority for violations confined to a single property

258      Total


County Response: Without specific information as to the files selected for review, the County cannot comment on the accuracy of this finding.


4. Review of the 9 selected files revealed

·           6 of the 9 complaints selected were still unresolved more than a year after they were filed

·           2 of the 9 complaints were assigned the highest priority status (Code A). Neither was resolved

·           3 of the 9 complaints had recorded code violations (Red Tags) shown in the computer records, but only 1 contained a copy of the recorded code violation in the physical file

·           1 file had all the work done but the file was still shown as active

·           1 file had no work done on it at all

·           1 file had an unsigned copy of a settlement agreement when it should have contained a signed copy in the file


County Response: Without specific information as to the files selected for review, the County cannot comment on the accuracy of this finding.


5.         When the Grand Jury questioned the meaning of the compliance Priority Codes A, B, C, the director stated that he was unaware of these priority codes because the system was installed before he started with the county. Senior code compliance management had earlier asserted these codes were useless and they did not mean anything. In contrast, two computer-input clerks stated that they always assign a Priority Code B when entering the initial code compliance complaint in the computer and then route the file to the senior code compliance management who may change it to Code A or C as appropriate.







County Response:   The ABC codes are a remnant of an earlier prioritization system which the department no longer uses. These codes are entered only because the computer system  categorizes this field as “required” be completed in order to transmit the complaint to management staff for review. For this reason, staff have  been instructed to always enter Code B.


After review, management staff applies Code 1 through 5 to indicate the complaint’s priority status.  Because the ABC code is only used to transmit complaints between the intake staff and management, there is no reason to keep the ABC code current as work continues on the case.  The computer system is in the process of being replaced and this issue will be addressed at that time.


6.         As a result of this information, the Grand Jury increased the scope of its review to include all of the complaints bearing the highest priority code received during the first quarter of 2000. There were 15 Code A complaints. One year later, 9 of the 15 Code A complaints were still unresolved.


County Response: Without more specific information as to the complaints selected for review, the County has no basis for agreeing or disagreeing with this finding. 


However, as indicated above, the ABC system is not used to prioritize cases, and a Code A case is not necessarily a high priority. The department has reviewed existing cases labeled with Code A, and most of these were determined to be of lower priority. It would be incorrect to assume, based on the Grand Jury’s findings, that 9 high priority cases remain unresolved after a year.  This data can only indicate that nine cases of unknown priority remain unresolved.


7.         The contradictory information regarding the complaint coding system led the Grand Jury  to review the history of the code compliance computer system Codes A, B, C. The findings in chronological order are

1.         In November 1990, the Board of Supervisors approved a set of criteria for assigning priority rankings to code violation complaints.

· Code A – involving immediate threat to public health and safety

· Code B – health or safety considerations but no immediate threat to the public

· Code C – low priority for violations confined to a single property.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


2.         In 1993 the, A, B, C coding was implemented and integrated into the computer system ALUS (defined later).


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


3.         The code compliance section has failed to properly use this system. There has always been a reminder computer report for code compliance violations (A, B, C) as a part of the ALUS system.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


The code compliance section does not utilize this system because it does not provide sufficient priority differentiation.  The ALUS system was originally programmed to require the entry of the ABC codes, so these codes are still entered even though they have no  meaningful relationship to a case’s priority determination.


4.         In August 2000, a new set of codes for assigning priority rankings was devised using designations 1 through 5 rather than A, B, C. Code 1 is equivalent to Code A. Codes 2 through 5 are in descending order of importance.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


5.         A substantial amount of time and effort was spent on the new system. In spite of the costly preparations, Codes 1 through 5 system has never been implemented.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


The Codes 1 through 5 system has been implemented into the Planning Department’s code compliance procedures. The criteria comprising the Codes 1 through 5 system serve as the basis for senior code compliance management's decisions in classifying complaint referrals from support staff. This system has not been incorporated into the ALUS system due to the cost and difficulty of programming.  This computer system is currently scheduled for replacement.


Systems and Policies Findings


1.                  The department runs its data processing system on a 1990’s mainframe software system called ALUS. ALUS does all its processing and data storage on a single large piece of computer hardware. The department also has smaller data processing system modules on a user’s desktop computer, like word processing, spreadsheets, etc. An e-mail system was recently installed in the department. ALUS is the backbone of the Planning Department and is a well-tested and reliable system, however it is difficult to upgrade and has no user documentation. This is a considerable detriment to its future use.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


2.         The Planning Department does not accept credit cards for payment of fees. The fiscal manager of the department has devised a plan by which applicants can submit a credit card and pay a convenience fee to defray the credit card cost charged to the department. This plan has not been implemented.


County Response:  The Planning Department has accepted credit cards on a limited basis since the 1998-99 fiscal year.  The County Auditor and Information Services Department are developing a county-wide policy for credit card acceptance. When that policy has been implemented, the Planning Department will expand its acceptance of cards in accordance with the policy. 


3.         The reviewing agency does not always update the status of their review in the computer system. In such instances the Planning Department does not complete this section either.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


It is the responsibility of management staff to ensure that the status of reviews is kept current in the system by both departmental staff and outside agencies. Planning Department staff contact outside agencies and remind them to complete their status updates.


4.         Almost anyone in the Planning Department can change data in the computer.


County Response: Employees in the Planning Department are authorized to view or change information in the ALUS system in accordance with their assigned responsibilities. Staff cannot make changes in areas for which they have not been authorized.


5.         Of the four primary functions of the department, the development approval process and the building permit process were recently made available on the internet. The General Plan and the code compliance status are not yet available on-line.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


6.         To provide a more convenient and less crowded location for the public, the department operates a satellite permit center in Felton. This center operates three days a week. Plans are underway to open another satellite office in the Aptos/Watsonville area.



County Response:   The Felton Center is now open weekdays Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Aptos Permit Center, located at 8045 Soquel Drive, was opened in June 2001.  The Aptos Center is also open 5 days per week and offers the same services as are available at the Felton Center.


7.         The Planning Department has streamlined the process for small projects such as permits for water heaters, fences, decks and roofs by allowing applicants to apply by telephone, internet or fax.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


Recommendation 1. The Planning Department should accept credit cards.


County Response: See response above.


Recommendation 2. The Planning Department should immediately resolve all complaints classified as a threat to public health and safety.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


All complaints received by the Code Compliance Section are evaluated at the time of receipt to ascertain whether there is a threat to public health and/or safety. Each of these complaints are investigated immediately (usually within  24 hours) to verify whether a violation exists that poses an immediate threat to public health and safety.  If a violation posing such a threat is determined to exist, staff is guided by the abatement procedures found at Chapter 1.14 in the County Code. The property owner is required to take the necessary steps to abate the violation within either 48 hours or 10 days depending on the immediacy of response required.    Failure to abate within the specified period could subject the property to summary abatement proceedings wherein the County could directly move to abate the violation and then proceed through administrative hearing to recover costs.  The department’s policy is to attempt to abate violations that threaten health and safety as quickly as identified.


Recommendation 3.   The Planning Director should ensure there is strong management in the Code Compliance Section.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.



Recommendation 4. Physical files should include copies of the recorded code violations (Red Tags) and be consistent with the status shown on the computer screen.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Since 1990, the department’s policy has been that copies of recorded code violations (the Notice of Violation and the actual document which records the Notice of Violation) are to be included in investigation files. In addition, a series of binders containing copies of the documents that record the Notice of Violation are maintained by the clerical staff in the Code Compliance Section. It is the department’s intention to ultimately eliminate the need for these binders by scanning the physical record files so that the information will be more secure and more easily accessed.


It is currently departmental policy that physical files should be consistent with the status shown on computer screen. The Information Services Department has assisted the Code Compliance section by preparing several printouts designed to identify any inconsistencies between the contact and follow-up dates, the current status code of the investigation, and the follow-up action.


Recommendation 5.   The Planning Department should utilize the existing ALUS code compliance system for tracking the status of code priority classifications until a future system is operational.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding.


Departmental review of the ABC code compliance system indicates that the system software is inadequate for properly prioritizing cases. System improvements, including the integration of the Codes 1 through 5 priority system will be incorporated into the change of platform project currently underway and scheduled to be completed in mid-2002. Presently, the criteria comprising the Codes 1 through 5 system is being utilized and serves as the basis of senior code compliance management's decisions in classifying complaint referrals.


Recommendation  6.   The Planning Department should complete the status of the outside agency’s review in the computer system.


County Response: The County essentially agrees with this recommendation.


Planning Department staff will contact outside agencies which have not completed the entry of status information in the computer system.  Since required information is often unique to the requirements of the reviewing agency, or is often based upon specific consultations between the applicant and the reviewing agency, Planning staff may not be in a position to complete the status update on behalf of the outside reviewing agency.  However, the department will assume an active role in ensuring that the information is complete and up to date.  The Planning Department plans to make available  training opportunities for outside review agency personnel to insure that they understand how to enter comments and review determinations in the current ALUS system


Recommendation 7.  The Planning Department should develop a system to cross-reference the multiple physical files that exist for a single development permit application.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Recommendation  8.  The Auditor-Controller’s Office should implement an internal audit system on Planning Department files.


County Response: This recommendation requires further analysis. 


The Auditor-Controller’s Office operates an ongoing internal audit program for County departments. An audit of the Planning Department’s EMIS/ALUS system was conducted in 1997. The Auditor-Controller will review the situation to determine is problems exist which require an internal review.


Recommendation 9. The Board of Supervisors should update the 1994 General Plan as soon as is feasible.


County Response: This recommendation will be implemented.


The General Plan is customarily updated every ten years. The County expects to begin the updating process in 2002-03.


Recommendation 10. The Board of Supervisors should conduct a formal study to determine the relationship of current salaries to employee retention.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


On an annual basis, the County Personnel Department conducts an analysis of employee turnover according to occupational group, departments, bargaining units, gender, ethnicity, and age.


Recommendation 11.   The Board of Supervisors should consider changing the entities in the nine-county comparison used in salary surveys to include the four cities in the county.


County Response: The County has utilized the nine-county comparison for over thirty years, and this long-term base of information is useful in evaluating salaries. The nine-county comparison is only used as a guide along with other information such as the Consumer Price Index, turnover statistics, recruitment and retention rates, the relationship between positions within the County, changes in classifications, and operational changes.  Other jurisdictions are also surveyed, as appropriate.


Recommendation 12. Immediate priority must be given to training Planning Department personnel.


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


The Board of Supervisors approved a new position,  Departmental Training Coordinator, in November 2000. A department-wide needs assessment was conducted in March and a new department training program has been initiated. The program is managed by the Training Coordinator who reports directly to the Planning Director.  The program has four training tracks: New Employee Orientation, Professional Development, Office Technology and Interpersonal Communication and Dynamics.


Recommendation 13. Planning Department managers should conduct employee reviews consistent with the stated personnel policy of the department.


County Response: The County agrees with this finding.


Recommendation 14. The Planning Department should establish the Aptos/Watsonville Satellite Permit Center.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


The Aptos Permit Center, located at 8045 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA was opened in June 2001 and operates 5 days per week.  The same services are available at the Aptos Permit Center as at the Felton Permit Center.


Recommendation 15. The Felton Satellite Permit Center should be available five days a week.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Recommendation 16. The General Plan and the code compliance complaint status should be available on the internet.


County Response: A portion of the recommendation has been implemented, and a portion requires further analysis.


Publication of the General Plan designation, as well as other parcel based land use information, on the Internet is imminent.  It should be noted that the department currently refers interested parties to the CERES ( site, which has published General Plans for many jurisdictions.  We will place a link to that site on the County’s web page.  As the County moves into its next General Plan update, there are plans to have a Web presence to assist the public in participating in the General Plan update process.


Further analysis is needed to determine whether it is appropriate for the County to provide information to the public on alleged violations. Field inspection, code review, and records research may reveal that the alleged violation does not, in fact, exist. In addition, the provision of information on active code compliance complaints via the Internet must be designed so that it would not result  in extended interaction with individuals wanting to contest or challenge the department’s conclusions resulting from field verification and research of complaint allegations.


The County plans to review whether a code compliance complaint status should be included on the Internet with implementation of the new permit tracking system, tentatively scheduled for mid 2002.


Recommendation 17 A.  Development approval process should be added to the web site.


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


The internet site for the Planning Department currently lists a series of informational brochures that are available on-line regarding building permits and discretionary permits. Of the twenty-one informational brochures that are currently available, nine deal with various aspects of the development review approval process, including the pre-development site review process, coastal zone approvals, home occupations, variances, the level 5 Zoning Administrator process, riparian corridors, administrative permits, land divisions, and sensitive habitat protection. Several additional informational brochures will be added to the internet site by the end of this calendar year.


Recommendation 17 B.  Description of the project should be added to the web site


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


The current on-line inquiry system for building permit and discretionary permit applications allows individuals with pending applications to check on the status of their permits electronically. The department will require that the new permit tracking system be designed to include project descriptions.  


Recommendation 17 C.    Cross reference to a related building permit should be added to the web site:


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


The on-line permit application inquiry system only provides information on active permit applications for a specific assessors parcel. In most instances, a discretionary permit must be obtained before a building permit application can be filed. Once a discretionary permit is approved, it will no longer appear in the on-line inquiry system. Subsequent active building permit applications would appear, but the precedent discretionary permit would no longer appear on the screen.


A cross-reference feature would be helpful in those few instances where the discretionary permit and building permit applications are being processed concurrently. The department  will include this function in the specifications for the new permit tracking system.


Recommendation 17 D.  The alpha digit at the end of the permit number is confusing and should not be part of the record number.


County Response: This recommendation will not be implemented.


The alpha digit at the end of the building application (not permit) number is necessary to communicate the processing expectations for that particular application to the various reviewing agencies.


Recommendation 17 E.  If a permit has been issued, the status on the web page should not show “READY TO ISSUE”


County Response: This recommendation will be implemented.


“READY TO ISSUE” is used as the final status for building permit applications because more than one permit can be issued from an application.  In the new permit tracking system, the department will specify that there be clarification of when all permits are issued from a single application.


Recommendation 17 F.  Withdrawn permits should be shown on the web page


County Response: This recommendation requires further analysis.


The audience for the current Web site is the applicant, not the public at large. In developing  the new permit tracking system, the department will review this recommendation further.


Recommendation 17 G.  Complete projects should show the date of completion on the web page


County Response: This recommendation requires further analysis.


We assume that the Grand Jury is referring to the completion of the application and the  issuance or denial of a building permit.  As stated above, the purpose of the web site is to providing status on building applications, not permits, since it is the application process which is of interest to the public.


Recommendation 17 H.  Cross reference the building permit to any related development approval should be added to the web site.


County Response: This recommendation will be implemented. 


Cross-reference from a development approval to a building permit application does not exist in our current ALUS system.  Such a cross referencing system will be a specification of the new permit tracking system.





Santa Cruz County Fire Protection Services

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 33



Grand Jury Findings


1.         The Grand Jury found that the facilities and equipment at the fire stations were well maintained.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


2.         Most of the fire departments train together and respond to emergencies using mutual aid that employs the “closest to the incident” policy, which means the nearest firefighting resource will respond regardless of district boundaries. See Map.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


3.         Consistent with most fire departments around the nation, only about 10% of the emergency calls are fire related. The remaining 90% of the emergency calls are

·           Medical

·           Vehicle accidents with trapped or injured persons

·           Other rescue services

·           Hazardous material spills

·           Vehicle or residence lock outs involving infants or elderly persons.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


4.         Each fire service within the County of Santa Cruz has programs that teach children fire prevention and safety. The CDFFP has it's “Smokey the Bear” program, which it shares with other departments. Some departments use “Sparky” the dog in their programs. All of these programs are designed to teach children the following:

·           Not to play with fire

·           How to report a fire if they see one in their neighborhood

·           How to escape their home should it catch on fire

·           How to “stop, drop and roll” should their or someone else’s clothes catch on fire

·           The importance of smoke detectors, and maintaining them

·           How to reduce fire hazards in their homes


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


5.         The fire protection services also have available two “burn trailers”. These are designed to simulate fires in the home and children can actually practice preventing fires as well as escaping from a burning home. The Scotts Valley Fire Protection District owns one of these burn trailers and the Zayante Fire Protection District owns the other. One of these simulation trailers is usually on display at the Santa Cruz County Fair each year.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding with the following clarification. The burn trailer is not the property of the Zayante Fire Protection District. It is owned by the four San Lorenzo Valley fire agencies and was purchased through a joint effort.


6.         All but two of the fire protection services in the county use volunteer firefighters. Some fire protection departments are almost exclusively supported by volunteer firefighters, with the exception of the Chief and one or two other staff.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


7.         According to newly enacted Regulations of the California Code a minimum of four firefighters, “two-in, two-out”, are required at the scene of a structure fire before firefighters may enter a burning structure. This requirement does not apply where there is an imminent threat to persons inside the structure. Some of the fire protection departments in the County do not have the firefighter staff to satisfy the “two-in, two-out” requirement.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


8.         The following were found to be fire service obstacles common to all fire protection services, and therefore serve as the basis for many of the public education and public awareness campaigns waged by them. The education and awareness campaigns stress

·           Maintaining a safe zone of 30 feet to 100 feet around homes free from flammable vegetation

·           Private roads be

- cleared of brush

- clear of low hanging branches

- wide enough to accommodate fire engines

·           Post bridges with the maximum allowable weight limit

·           Post addresses to ensure visibility from the street

·           Multiple homes sharing a common private road, where the addresses are clustered at the entrance, should post each address again at the entrance to each property

·           Roofs and rain gutters should be cleared of flammable debris

·           Spark arrestors should be installed on all chimneys

·           Water sources such as pools and water storage tanks must be close enough to the house to be useful

·           Lack of adequate turn-around space for a fire engine


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


9.         Application of Compressed Air Foam uses minimal water, resulting in hoses being lighter and more easily managed, and reducing the amounts of water required to be trucked to remote areas. The use of foam on a structure fire reduces the amount of water damage to the structure and contents.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


10.       The Santa Cruz County Fire Chiefs Association is an active association that promotes cooperation among the various firefighting services. In addition to the fire chiefs, the membership includes associate members from the cooperating fire service agencies such as ambulance service providers, helicopter transport providers, the County’s Emergency Medical Service Agency (EMS) and Cabrillo College. The Santa Cruz County Fire Chiefs Association

·           Conducts meetings at regular intervals to discuss matters pertinent to county-wide fire service issues

·           Promotes uniformity of the fire service throughout the county

·           Provides a medium of exchange of information and ideas among fire service personnel

·           Develops and coordinates solutions to fire service problems that are common throughout the county

·           Promotes the general welfare of the public and the fire service


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


11.       The Fire Chiefs Association has an operations section that performs countywide training, which

·           Promotes uniformity of training and operations

·           M A review of the section’s work program was undertaken by the Planning Director in collaboration with the Assistant Director to whom the section reports and with the section manager.  That review included consultations with Code Compliance Investigations staff.  It was determined that additional administrative support would be needed to enable the field staff and section management to concentrate on their primary mission.


As a result of this review, a Planning Technician was added to assist the senior code compliance investigator, a half-time Accounting Technician was added to relieve the section manager of certain fiscal tasks,  and a typist clerk was added to assist in complaint intake and verification.


The Planning Director is evaluating the impact of these changes and is assessing additional alternatives for strengthening the management and performance of the Code Compliance section aintains, manages and improves mutual aid and automatic aid programs between agencies

·           Develops mutual training and drills

·           Develops solutions to common operational problems


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


12.       In accordance with a revenue sharing policy adopted in 1978 by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, the unincorporated area fire protection services receive a distribution of Proposition 172 funds for projects or items of benefit which have been recommended by the Santa Cruz County Fire Chiefs Association. This annual distribution is equivalent to twelve percent of the growth in Proposition 172 revenue. For fiscal year 2001-02, the Fire Chiefs Association plans to use these funds as follows:

·           70% for training and training facility needs

·           15% for communication system upgrades

·           10% for fire prevention activities

·           5% for development of special teams (hazardous materials, confined space rescue, etc.)


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


13.       Some fire protection districts with limited resources have devised creative ways to increase their ability to provide services and to augment their annual revenues. For example, one fire protection district contracted with an ambulance service to house its ambulance and the paramedic staff, in exchange for rental income, cross training, night security and extra office assistance. Others hold pancake breakfasts and other community based fundraisers.


County Response: The County agrees with the finding.


14.       Volunteer firefighting programs provide introductory training and other opportunities to people who want to make firefighting their career or assist their community. When a fire department has an opening for a paid firefighter, it is usually filled from the ranks of the volunteer firefighters.


County Response: The County partially agrees with this finding.


Volunteer firefighting programs provide introductory training and other opportunities to people interested in making firefighting their career or assisting their community. However, policies related to recruitment of paid firefighters vary. In those departments that utilize volunteers, recruitment for career positions may come from the volunteer ranks or may follow some other hiring process depending on agency needs.


Recommendation 1.     The Board of Supervisors should fund a countywide firefighting training facility that provides fire departments with “live structure fire” drills and standardize procedures.


County Response: The County Fire Chiefs have appropriated proposition 172 funding to build a “live structure fire” training facility to be completed by July 1, 2002.


Recommendation 2.     Each fire protection service should explore the feasibility of Compressed Air Foam Systems. Under certain circumstances, this system could be a valuable tool in fighting some fires.


County Response: The recommendation is being implemented.


Boulder Creek and Aptos-La Selva Fire Protection Districts have both implemented the use of compressed air foam systems for certain types of firefighting applications. Other Santa Cruz County fire agencies will evaluate their results and adopt the use of this equipment as appropriate and as funding allows.



Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 34



Recommendation  5. To fill the BCR&PD vacancy, the Board of Supervisors should immediately appoint a new director.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


The Board of Supervisors appointed a director to the BCR&PD Board on June 26, 2001.

Health Care Services for Low-Income Families

in Santa Cruz County

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 52



Grand Jury Findings



Recommendation 1.   The Board of Supervisors should take the necessary course of action to have the county designated as a demonstration site for the integrated provision of local health services subsidized by state and federal government for counties of similar characteristics.


County Response: The recommendation requires further analysis.


The recommendation needs to be analyzed in terms of all of the state and federal authorizations for services currently funded in the county in order for the Board of Supervisors to determine what the necessary course of action must be for each program or service to become part of an integrated service plan or pilot.  Some may be done by waiver, while others will require state and federal enabling legislation.  This comprehensive analysis is likely to be a six-month effort.


Recommendation 2.   The Board of Supervisors should direct the HSA to develop a plan for incremental consolidation and eligibility simplification of categorical health programs as part of the demonstration.

·           This plan should be based on prepaid capitation payments and a local public commission should govern its operations.

·           Eligibility requirements should be simplified and extended to a term of at least one year.

·           Eligibility should be based on family income, rather than assets, and tied to federally designated poverty guidelines.

·           The entire family, not individual members, should be designated as the beneficiary for health service coverage.

·           The Central Coast Alliance for Health and its principles of practice should be used as a model for the administration of other categorical health programs.

·           The Board of Supervisors should urge the state to engage an independent non-governmental entity with credentials in the healthcare field to monitor the demonstration and track its impacts on both program costs and clinical outcomes. The Medical Information Management System should facilitate this tracking.


County Response: This recommendation has not yet been implemented, but will be implemented in the future.


This is a multi-year effort which fits into HSA's plans to develop and promote a Healthy Communities Project for the County of Santa Cruz. Implementation of such a project can only be done with state and federal participation as well as the active support of all local health-related agencies and stakeholders.  HSA plans to convene a Health Summit in November to garner local support for such an effort.  Action teams will be identified in the Summit, each of which will then develop the necessary plans.


Recommendation 3.   The Healthy Families Program should include parents in its coverage. Premiums should be set at more affordable levels in order to accelerate enrollment of families without insurance. Coverage should be maintained during short periods of seasonal unemployment. The Central Coast Alliance for Health should approach local employers to continue premium payments for families during short periods of seasonal unemployment to keep insurance coverage from lapsing. It should continue to expand the participation of specialists in its programs.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Inclusion of parents in Healthy Families is already part of the state-approved program.  Changes in premiums requires state legislation which the County can encourage.


Recommendation 4.   In order to assure that appropriate care is provided at the least costly level, the outpatient services of local hospitals need to be reimbursed at a higher percent of reasonable costs. The same is true for on-call private physicians who provide care to indigent patients in need of admission to the hospital. The level of reimbursements to private health service providers must be set at a reasonable percent of costs to assure retention of physicians and hospitals participating in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families Program. Rates should be subject to annual negotiation.


County Response: This recommendation will not be implemented because it is not within the County’s purview.


ER and outpatient reimbursement levels are a state and Alliance issue. The Grand Jury report does not address MediCruz rates  which can only be increased if total services are reduced or additional funds are appropriated.


Recommendation 5.   The Coalition for Health Care Outreach should be supported in the budget of the Health Services Agency upon expiration of the Packard Foundation grant.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


HSA does include some funds for the Outreach Coalition in its budget and has raised the balance of funds needed through grants.


Recommendation 6.   Additional sessions in the evening and through the lunch hour would be a great advantage for family members who now must lose time at work to attend the clinics.


County Response: This recommendation requires further analysis.


Expanded hours for clinics have been offered in the past with poor utilization of the evening hours.  Nevertheless, HSA will undertake a feasibility analysis of this and other clinic issues and report to the Board of Supervisors by December 2001.  It may be possible to provide lunch coverage by staggering staff hours, and this will also be reviewed.


Recommendation 7.   Full-service dental health programs should be launched in county and community clinics.


County Response: This recommendation has been and will continue to be implemented through the County’s community partners..


The Children and Families Commission has approved funds for some expanded dental services.  The County does not have funds to address this recommendation and, without increased reimbursement under Medi-Cal, the private sector is not likely to expand its capacity.  However, dental health programs  will be included as one of the major issues for the Summit.


Recommendation 8.   The county should continue to collaborate with community health organizations, local employers and organized labor to expand the numbers of individuals and working families covered by health insurance which includes mental health and dental benefits.


County Response: This recommendation has been and will continue to be implemented.


Recommendation 9.   The total lack of primary mental health services needs to be addressed both in county and community clinics. An intensive program should be mounted to attract mental health professionals to the county with an emphasis on the recruitment of family-oriented therapists to provide primary mental health services in clinics that serve low-income clients.


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


Primary mental health services in are currently available on a limited basis in County clinics. Without new resources for uninsured patients, it is not possible to increase this commitment. For persons with Medi-Cal, an array of primary mental health services are available in our community in both the public and private sectors. The County delivers services to the seriously mental ill population and authorizes clinically appropriate services through our network of providers for persons with Medi-Cal who are not seriously disabled.


Recommendation 10.   County clinics should be reconfigured to family-oriented primary and preventive care, backed by clinical specialties and case-managed group therapy for persons at high risk or suffering chronic and recurring illness. These measures will require the recruitment of full-time county physicians and allied practitioners.


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


HSA will be bringing in clinic management consultants to develop a clinic management improvement plan, information system, and budget.  A work group on community clinics and indigent health services will be established at the Summit meeting to define the mission and structure of the clinic system of the county. It is the role of the County clinics to complement the community clinics, rather than duplicating or competing with them.  Also as vacancies occur in positions for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, HSA will move to hire full-time positions for key clinical posts.


Recommendation 11.   In the recruitment of health care professionals, salary surveys conducted in nearby agricultural counties are no longer pertinent to this county. In the next round of county salary negotiations, surveys should be conducted that use counties more comparable to the emerging characteristics of Santa Cruz County.


County Response: This has been addressed in the earlier sections of this report.. 

Blaine Street Women’s Facility

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 92



Grand Jury Findings


The Blaine Street Facility is a home-like environment complete with a backyard, benches,

children’s sandbox, and vegetable garden.


The average stay is 3 to 4 months. Many of the women return to this facility, as they are frequent offenders. The most common offenses are drug and alcohol related.


The Supervising Correctional Officer from Blaine Street interviews inmates at the Main Jail. During the interview behavioral expectations, work assignments and class attendance at Blaine Street are presented to the inmate. According to the supervisor, inmates must “display a cooperative attitude and peaceful behavior if they are to remain at this facility.” Most of the women prefer to serve their time here because of the special privileges available at Blaine Street. Inmates understand the consequence for violating the rules is a return to the Main Jail.


Several optional classes are offered at the facility, such as:

·           Computer Classes (Windows, Keyboarding)     ·           Art Classes

·           Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous               ·           Parenting Classes

·           Career and Job Development                            ·           Knitting Classes

·           GED Testing                                                     ·           Crocheting Classes


Blaine Street inmates have smoking privileges that are not available at the Main Jail. The backyard is the designated smoking area. The residents of an adjacent home have complained because they are negatively impacted by their view of the activities in the backyard of the facility.


Inmates can purchase candy, soda, cigarettes, playing cards, shampoo, and deodorant. The inmates also have access to television, treadmill, stair-stepper, stationery bike, exercise

videos, library, board games and movies on video.


The inmates prepare meals in a small kitchen with menus developed by the Food Service Manager from the Main Jail. The facility replaced the refrigerator in 1999 and the stove in 2000. The carpet is scheduled for replacement in 2001.


Inmates are allowed one two-hour visit each weekend. An inmate’s day begins with a 6:30 AM wakeup call and ends with lights out at 10:00 PM.


Each inmate is assigned duties that may include kitchen chores, cleaning the bathrooms, or other household tasks. Some women work in the kitchen at the Main Jail. They walk to and from the Main Jail unescorted. Some women participate in the Work Release Program, which permits participants to work during the day and return to the facility in the evening.


The County’s Health Service Agency provides medical, pharmacy and diagnostic services. The doctors from the Main Jail attend sick call each weekday morning. Additionally, the chaplain, Crisis Intervention Team, and other service providers come to the facility.


The staff consists of one Supervising Detention Officer and two detention officers on a rotating work schedule. The accepted officer-to-inmate ratio is 1 to 50-60 inmates. Therefore, only one officer is required to be on duty at all times.


County Response: The County agrees with the findings.


Recommendation 1.  The Board of Supervisors should approve financing to expand classroom capacity at the facility and add smoking cessation classes to the education program.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


The Board has approved financing for the expansion of educational and treatment programs for the inmates at the Blaine Street facility. The expansion of these programs will be funded with revenues generated within the Detention Bureau. Smoking cessation classes will be implemented before the end of the year.


Recommendation 2.  The Board of Supervisors should approve financing to build a taller fence or other measures to reduce the negative impact of the facility on neighbors.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Funds for this project are included in the 2001-02 County Budget.

Juvenile Hall Facility

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 94


Grand Jury Findings


Minors range in age from 12 to 18 years old. The average population in 1999-2000 was approximately 39 juveniles.


The Facility is divided into two sections, Unit A and Unit B. The unit assignment is based on age, gender and type of crime. On the day of the visit, there were 16 minors residing in Unit A. This unit houses older males that have committed more sophisticated crimes. There were 18 minors residing in Unit B. This co-ed unit houses the younger juveniles that have committed less sophisticated crimes.


Prior to admission to the Facility, many of the minors actively participated in gangs. The Juvenile Hall Facility is a “No Gang Zone.” Upon arrival, the youth is assigned to a unit. Information is provided on the point system used at the Facility where kids on good behavior can earn privileges such as staying up later or eating in the dining room. On the first day, the minor is asked to read a copy of the “Juvenile Hall Rules.” Examples of the rules include:

·           “Talk or gestures of profanity, racial or sexual slurs are forbidden.”

·           “Talking, writing about or planning an escape is forbidden.”

·           “Changing your hairstyle, tattoos or body carving is not allowed.”


The Juvenile Facility is well maintained. The Juvenile Facility contains classrooms, computers, a library, an outdoor recreation area and an indoor recreation area. In addition, the facility has a courtroom built in 1995. Last year’s Santa Cruz County Grand Jury recommended that an indoor gymnasium be built to allow for additional indoor activities. The County responded that this recommendation “has not been implemented due to lack of available funding.” The County felt funds may be “available in the upcoming year, at which time the opportunity will be submitted for the Board of Supervisors’ consideration.”


Special occasions at the Facility may include a barbecue, a visit from Barrios Unidos, career  night, guest speakers, and musical groups. Each unit meets one night a week where the minors talk about their experiences at the Facility.


Hartman School, an accredited institution, is on site. The minors go to school 5 days a week. The morning begins at 6:00 AM when they must shower and clean their rooms. Clean clothes are provided. The youths are able to continue working toward their high school diploma while at the Facility. Classes begin at 8:30 AM and end at 2:45 PM.


Medical personnel are available 12 hours per day. In addition, a full time counselor is on staff. Last year’s Santa Cruz County Grand Jury recommended that a full time nursing position be created. The County responded that the recommendation “will be considered as part of the 2000-01 County budget process” and will be completing a “feasibility study during the next six months to determine whether additional medical staff is warranted.”


County Response: The County agrees with the findings.


Recommendation 1.  The Board of Supervisors should not further delay the development of an indoor gymnasium at the Juvenile Hall Facility.


County Response: This recommendation has not yet been implemented but will be implemented in the future, under the following conditions.


Funds for Juvenile Detention facility renovation and construction are not available through the State in the upcoming year. The creation of a sheltered, secure recreation space remains a priority on the Probation Department’s list of needed improvements.


Recommendation 2.  The Board of Supervisors should not further delay the creation of a full-time nurse  position at the Juvenile Hall Facility.


County Response: This recommendation requires further analysis.


The Probation Department and the Health Services Agency continuously evaluate whether the medical needs of Juvenile Hall residents are being met. Currently medical staff are available twelve hours per day, seven days per week. To create full, twenty-four hour coverage would require the addition of two new full-time equivalent positions. Previous evaluation has indicated that the current staffing levels are appropriate. However, the departments will continue to monitor service provision to determine whether additional coverage is warranted in conjunction with future budget reviews. 

Main Jail

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 96


Grand Jury Findings


The Main Jail houses both male and female inmates who are awaiting trial and individuals sentenced to a term of 1 year or less for serious and violent crimes. In protracted cases, stays in the Main Jail may extend up to 3 ½ years. This includes time served in the county jail before, during and after trial.


Although the facility is rated for 249 inmates, in 1999 the average daily population was 322 inmates. There are bunks three high in the day room due to the large population. There are 87 budgeted positions for Detention Officers. On the day we visited the facility, there were 18 vacancies for Detention Officers because staff turnover has been high, causing mandatory overtime for the last 6 months.


Recent improvements at the Main Jail include:

·           A new security monitoring system with color cameras,

·           Replacement of single showers with double showers in five housing units and

·           The “Livescan” Project (1999) that is used for sending fingerprints electronically to the State Department of Justice, which could aid in finding individuals using false identities and discovering other prior arrests.


Most of these projects were made possible through grant funds. The Sheriff’s Office received over a million dollars for security modifications. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office received $1.7 million dollars from the Board of Corrections for a Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant. This grant is intended to reduce jail overcrowding.


Women at the facility are a growing population. At the time of our visit, the policy at the Main Jail was to house disruptive women in Unit H and all others in Unit G. Female inmates are at the Main Jail predominantly for being drug and alcohol abusers and/or involved with fraudulent check writing.


The facility contains a medical unit that is staffed 7 days a week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The medical doctor is on duty Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. A nurse practitioner is on duty Thursdays. A psychologist is at the facility every morning from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. A dentist is available every other Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The Crisis Intervention Team is available weekdays from 8:00 AM to 5: 30 PM. An Episcopalian chaplain is in the units every day. This chaplain contacts ministers of other denominations for the inmates when requested. The medical facility was well maintained clean and several brochures on crisis counseling and health related matters were available for inmates.


A full-time Food Service Manager is responsible for overseeing the preparation and distribution of all meals to the inmates in all four County facilities. Based on average inmate population, Food Services prepared and served a total of over 700,000 meals in 1999. The Main Jail kitchen was originally designed to only feed 92 inmates compared to the 1999 average inmate population of 322.


The Main Jail kitchen has two cooks who are County employees and five inmates from Blaine Street Women’s Facility to help with meal preparation. The inmates are screened for communicable diseases at Blaine Street by Health Services prior to coming to the Main Jail kitchen. The County maintains an annual contract with a dietician from Santa Clara County for menu development. Currently, the inmates are given a 2400-calorie diet. Special diets are available upon physician approval. The kitchen has insufficient space for meal preparation and food storage.


Recommendation 1.  Continue to expand the capacity of the Main Jail Facility to accommodate a growing jail population. Emphasis should be placed on the female inmate population.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Local funding and the federal Violent Offender incarceration Grant have been used to remodel the inside of the Main Jail. It is expected that the modifications will increase the rated capacity of the facility. The County will continue to monitor incarceration rates of all populations within the County system and will evaluate the need for further expansion.


Recommendation 2.  Expand and renovate the kitchen facility to increase them square footage devoted to meal preparation and food storage.


County Response: This recommendation is being implemented.


Funds have been included in the 2001-02 budget for the needs assessment and design work which is necessary before any remodeling can begin. 


Recommendation 3.  Establish a salary schedule for the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office competitive with Bay Area rather than Central Coast counties.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


Rountree Facility

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 99


Grand Jury Findings


The minimum and maximum-security units at the Rountree Facility provide much needed relief from overcrowding in the Main Jail. On a weekly basis detention officers share coverage, and rotate between both facilities and the command post. Cross training is provided in all functions, permitting flexibility in posting personnel, covering absences, and reducing overtime expenditures.


Both units have a psychiatrist available, a chaplain, a law library, classes, self-help programs, and nursing coverage eight hours a day, seven days a week. Three nurses rotate working a split shift from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.


Minimum-Security Facility


The minimum-security facility is called the “Rehabilitation Unit.” The maximum stay in the Rehabilitation Unit is 90 days. In 1999, the average daily population was 159 inmates and had a rated capacity of 162 inmates. At the time of our visit, there were 80 minimum-security inmates whose average age was 27 years. During the day there are three detention officers at the minimum-security prison.


Inmates have an opportunity to earn their GED while at Rountree. In 1999, a total of 52 inmates received their GED certificates. In 1992, the inmates built a computer classroom that was completed in 1994. The facility has 14 computers available for introductory computer classes and 18 computers available for advanced computer classes. In addition, inmates receive the following job training:


·           Food services – skills are offered in culinary and customer service.

·           Landscaping – a common area was made into a koi pond for meditation and enjoyment by all.

·           Building maintenance – carpentry, painting and other trades improve vocational options.

·           Auto-body repair – Inmates run an auto body shop including painting and other repairs related to the auto-body trade.

·           Agriculture – Inmates maintain a vegetable farm where all crops are used in the jail kitchen or donated to non-profit organizations.


Inmates can participate in a Monday-Friday off-site work program to assist various county departments and public agencies. The current program allows only 40 inmate participants.


Government Agency / Dept. Hours Worked

County Road & Yard Crews 1,768

County Landfill 1,034

City of Watsonville 954

County Warehouse 425

County General Services 216

State Beaches and Parks 102

County Parks 22

Man Jail 5

Total 4,526


Medium-Security Facility

The medium-security unit has a maximum stay of 110 days. This facility has two direct supervision housing units with a rated capacity of 96 beds for sentenced male prisoners. During the day there are four detention officers on duty. The average daily population was 72 inmates in 1999.


Assignment of male inmates to the medium-security unit is determined at the Main Jail. Detention/Classification officers are responsible for inmates’ placement within the three facilities: Main Jail, Rountree minimum-security facility and Rountree medium-security facility. Inmates who pose a security risk and have no violent criminal history may be placed in the medium security facility.


Inmates housed at this facility can participate in a number of educational classes and programs that are not available at the Main Jail.


Recommendation 1:  The Sheriff-Coroner’s Office should expand the beneficial off-site work program to increase the number of participating inmates.


County Response: Operations at the Rountree Facility are under the control of the Sheriff. However, it is the Board’s understanding that all inmates participate in either the educational, therapeutic, or vocational programs or the off-site work program.


Financial Compliance Review of County Entities

Grand Jury Final Report, Page 105


Grand Jury Findings


1.         The County of Santa Cruz is a general law county founded in 1850. It serves a population of approximately 255,000 persons and covers an area of 441 square miles.

2.         Besides the county’s direct departments, the county oversees approximately 50 county service areas in the county. These county service areas cover a wide variety of services: private road maintenance associations, fire departments, lighting, parks & recreation, mosquito abatement, water services, sanitation services, septic maintenance and some police functions. These county service areas are audited as part of the independent Certified Public Accounts annual audit.

3.         The county’s general fund reserves rose from approximately $16 million dollars in the year ending June 30, 1999 to over $41 million dollars in the year ending June 30, 2000.

4.         The County of Santa Cruz Audit Committee requires that two Grand Jurors participate as members of the committee. This committee oversees the audit process including the selection of auditor and the review of the auditor’s reports. No member of the current Grand Jury was asked to participate in this committee. For the first ten months of the current fiscal year, this committee held no meetings.

5.         At the close of fieldwork, the county’s annual financial statements were on the county’s web page but the current budget was not.


County Response: The County agrees with these findings.


Recommendation 1.   The County Audit Committee should hold regular meetings.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


During the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 fiscal years, pre-audit meetings were held and an exit conference was held to discuss the results of the 1998-99 audit. Although the Grand Jury was invited to participate, representatives did not attend that exit conference. The exit conference for the 1999-2000 audit was postponed due to illness and is being planned for September.


Recommendation 2.  The county should either invite two members of the Grand Jury to sit on the County’s Audit Committee or revise the county’s requirement regarding grand jurors on the committee.


County Response: The County disagrees with this finding..


The Auditor-Controller has and will continue to invite Grand Jury participation in every meeting. In addition, the agenda for the September meeting of the Audit Committee will include a discussion of how to best ensure the Grand Jury’s participation in future meetings of the committee.


Recommendation 3.  The county should make available all the pertinent financial information on the county’s internet site, including financial statements and department budgets.


County Response: This recommendation has been implemented.


The County’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report has been available under the Auditor’s home page for two years. The Auditor-Controller plans to place budget summaries on the site in the near future as well.