San Francisco Superior Court is seeking volunteers for Civil Grand Jury service for the 2019-2020 term. The Civil Grand Jury is the “watchdog” for the City and County of San Francisco. The Civil Grand Jury investigates the operations of City government, including officials, departments, and agencies. Each year, the Civil Grand Jury issues reports based on its findings. Those reports are heard before the Board of Supervisors.
The Civil Grand Jury will serve from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
“As chair of the Court’s Civil Grand Jury Committee, I would like to encourage San Franciscans who want to make a difference in our City to apply to become a member of the Civil Grand Jury,” said Judge Susan M. Breall. “The Civil Grand Jury offers the opportunity to contribute to our community by examining City government to identify efficiencies, to suggest reforms or to highlight things that are not working well. This is a unique and exciting way to become involved in City affairs.”
The application deadline is May 17, 2019. Interested volunteers should be able to commit time consistently throughout the one-year term. The Civil Grand Jury usually meets once per week, with additional meetings and interviews scheduled as necessary.
A combination of diverse backgrounds, skills, and interests makes for the most effective Grand Juries. “San Francisco is a vibrant and diverse City,” Judge Breall said, “and we want our Civil Grand Jury to reflect that diversity.” Volunteers who enjoy researching, learning about City government, writing, editing, analyzing data, or meeting people committed to making San Francisco a better place to live are strongly encouraged to apply.
A requirement of the California Constitution, the Civil Grand Jury provides a “watchdog” function and has broad latitude to examine City departments, agencies and officials. The Civil Grand Jury issues a report detailing its findings and recommendations. Each affected City department or official is required to formally respond to each recommendation contained in the reports. The reports are then presented in public hearings before the Board of Supervisors.
The Civil Grand Jury is independent and selects its own topics for investigation. Past Civil Grand Jury reports have included examining issues such as the City’s Employee Retirement System; education and programming in the county jail; affordable housing; homelessness; and a variety of City Departments, including the Office of Assessor-Recorder, the Fire Department, and Public Utilities Commission. To conduct its investigations, the Jury interviews City officials, department heads, staff and others who have information relevant to the investigation. The Jury also has the authority to request data, reports, statistics, and other records to assist in its work.
The Civil Grand Jury Committee, appointed by Presiding Judge Garrett L. Wong, is comprised of Judge Breall; Judge Richard Darwin; Judge Gail Dekreon; Judge Samuel K. Feng; Judge Daniel A. Flores; Judge Christopher C. Hite; Judge Victor Hwang; Judge Stephen M. Murphy; Judge A. James Robertson, II; Judge Edward A. Torpoco; and Commissioner Rebecca Wightman.
Help make government more efficient! For more information and an application, please visit http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org.