El Dorado grand jury probe may be incomplete
Investigations into closed session testimony of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors may be incomplete this year.
Although the Board of Supervisors decided to answer grand jury inquiries Tuesday, four months of litigation approved by the former board may hinder a thorough jury investigation.
Superior Court Judge Suzanne Kingsbury decided last week to invalidate County Counsel Louis Green’s request to keep the grand jury from closed session testimony.
The board did not decide on whether to appeal Kingsbury’s decision this week but voted unanimously to comply with grand jury subpoenas, Supervisor Dave Solaro said.
Although the nature of the closed session testimony will not be disclosed, jury foreman Kenn Womack said Green, who was subpoenaed in November, has already appeared before the jury.
An appointment has not yet been set for former Chief Administrative Officer Mike Hanford to testify, however Womack said the jury will take up its investigation expeditiously.
“Now that we have the cooperation of the Board of Supervisors we will proceed with those inquiries and will call several other witnesses,” he said.
“I think the board made the right decision – the decision it should have made all along.”
The grand jury is charged by the state of California to evaluate the procedures, methods and systems used by the county government to determine whether the county can do business more efficiently. These investigations and the final report must be completed between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001.
Because the jury’s report has to go through a review and editing process, Womack said it will be difficult to complete an exhaustive investigation into the board’s testimony that no one will disclose.
“Once the county counsel and Board of Supervisors decided to pursue litigation, we knew we couldn’t complete all investigations,” Womack said. “We will publish reports on these cases of what we’ve discovered to date, but some portion of that investigative process will be handed to the next grand jury.”
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