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Grand Jury Issues Reports
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The San Joaquin County 2008-2009 Civil Grand Jury has released its final report on the Stockton-San Joaquin County Library and its investigation of, among other allegations, alleged questionable use of public funds, management's failure to follow civil service hiring rules, improper spending for consultants, contractors and vendors, and the Director's lack of concern for staff safety.

The Civil Grand Jury found "the former Library Director created a new position with the primary responsibility to raise funds and hired a friend to fill the position at management salary.

"During her tenure, no evidence was found of new fund development." Further, the reported noted, former Library Director Natalie Rencher contracted with several consultants and vendors, ranging from a personal life coach and strategic planning company, to an Internet marketing vendor. The jury found that this was done "at substantial expense with virtually no benefit to the library system."

The Grand Jury also found "the City Manager's Office failed to oversee the operation of the Library system. Ineffective and irresponsible oversight contributed to questionable library expenditures and low staff morale."

The City of Stockton now has time to respond to the findings, offering its side of the story. Rencher was let go in February as part of a cost cutting move.

Recommendations of the Grand Jury included that supervision of the library system be increased, including having the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and the City of Stockton "mutually establish and appoint citizens to a Library Advisory Commission which will make recommendations on matters pertaining to the operation of library services and facilities."

The library was just one area of investigation for the Civil Grand Jury, which has also released its report on the information technology security in the county.

The City of Escalon fared well in that investigation.

"Of the seven incorporated cities in the county, only Escalon and Lathrop met or are addressing the expectations for IT (Information Technology) security," the jury report stated.

Also, of the 16 separate IT organizations servicing county offices, all but four met the expectations for IT security.

"Of those four, the Agricultural Commissioner's Office, Public Defender's Office and Sheriff-Coroner's Office were operating with outdated server systems," according to the report.

This was the first ever investigation into Information Technology Security for the cities and county of San Joaquin. The Grand Jury had expressed interest in determining if the local municipalities and county offices had planned or installed sufficient safeguards to protect information systems against virus, accidental or deliberate disclosures and/or equipment failure.

Security policy, physical and environmental security, communications and operations management, access control, disaster planning, business continuity and validation and testing were among the components investigated.

The intent of the Grand Jury's investigation, officials said, was to demonstrate that San Joaquin County and its seven incorporated cities were exercising "due diligence" in protecting information resources and making appropriate plans for disaster recovery and business continuity.