Contra Costa County’s watchdog agency, the Civil Grand Jury, is an arm of the Superior Court. Unlike a criminal grand jury, this jury does not hear cases but is an investigative body. It devotes a year of dedicated service to keep careful watch over various aspects of our county government.
A new Civil Grand Jury is selected every year. Jurors devote a year of dedicated service to keep careful watch over myriad county services. They work to ensure that all parts of our county government are acting in the best interest for all citizens of Contra Costa County. They keep their eyes on our education system, health department, law enforcement and firefighting agencies, and financial offices. When any of these agencies do not perform effectively, grand jurors ask the tough questions and make the recommendations needed to make changes.
Recent grand juries have uncovered questionable practices and issued reports on such things as the county’s many pension problems, dwindling resources for elder care, foster children in jeopardy, truancy, and impropriety in local government. The Civil Grand Jury also shines a light on the good work being done by various entities within the county.
If you’ve ever suspected irresponsible, unethical or wasteful practices in county government and wished something could be done about them, you might be interested in serving as a member of the Civil Grand Jury. If you enjoy investigation, critical thinking and fact finding, you might be the person Contra Costa County needs to help save taxpayer dollars and optimize county services.
To qualify for the role of grand juror, you must:
• Be a citizen of the United States, 18 or older and a resident of the county for at least one year.
• Possess ordinary intelligence, sound judgment and fair character.
• Possess sufficient knowledge of the English language.
• Never have been convicted of a felony, malfeasance or other high crime.
• Be able to commit 20 hours per week to this undertaking.
It’s beneficial to be able to work collaboratively and to feel a genuine interest and connection to the tasks at hand. Former grand jurors would assure you that this commitment is challenging and gratifying.
To apply, fill out an application that you can download from the Contra Costa County Grand Jury website, www.cc-courts.org/grandjury. The applications for the year 2012-13 must be submitted by April 16.