The application deadline is May 31, 2017.
Information below and at: http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/.
Superior Court of California COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO 400 McAllister Street, Room 205 San Francisco, CA 94102-4512 Phone: 415-551-5737 FAX: 415-551-5701 Contact: Megan Filly (415) 551-5743 firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFSuperiorCourt T. MICHAEL YUEN COURT EXECUTIVE OFFICER
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES ENCOURAGE SAN FRANCISCANS TO APPLY FOR THE CIVIL GRAND JURY
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury service for the 2017-18 term, Judge Susan M. Breall announced today.
“San Franciscans who are eager to make a difference and want to be an agent of change in this great City should apply to become a member of the Civil Grand Jury,” said Judge Breall, Chair of the Court’s Civil Grand Jury Committee. “The Civil Grand Jury offers a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to our community by examining City government to address inefficiencies in operations and hold officials accountable. This is an exceptional way to become involved in City affairs.”
The application deadline is May 31, 2017. In order to serve, volunteers must be U.S. citizens; at least 18 years of age; have lived in San Francisco for at least the past 12 months; have no felony convictions; and be able to effectively communicate in English. Applications and more detailed information about the Civil Grand Jury are available at http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/.
This year, the Civil Grand Jury Committee Judges are attending various community events across the City to recruit Civil Grand Jury members in person. Through these recruitment efforts the San Francisco Superior Court Judges are committed to seeking a Civil Grand Jury that represents the City’s rich diversity.
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 Juries have investigated issues such as the City’s Clean Power initiative; affordable housing; homelessness; disaster preparedness; and a variety of City Departments, including the Office of Assessor-Recorder, the City’s Crime Lab, the Fire Department, and MUNI. 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’s term runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. After the initial screening, volunteers are interviewed by a panel of Superior Court Judges who select a pool of 30 jurors. From that pool, the 19 sworn jurors and 11 alternates are randomly selected.
Interested volunteers should be able to commit time consistently throughout the 1-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 character.” 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.
The Civil Grand Jury Committee, appointed by Presiding Judge Teri L. Jackson, is comprised of Judge Breall; Judge Gail Dekreon; Judge Samuel K. Feng; Judge Christopher C. Hite; Judge Victor Hwang; Judge Stephen M. Murphy; Judge Edward A. Torpoco; and Commissioner Rebecca Wightman.
CITY and COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
2017 – 2018 CIVIL GRAND JURY
FACT SHEET and SELECTION TIMELINE
What is the Civil Grand Jury?
The Civil Grand Jury is 19 members randomly drawn from a pool of applicants who volunteer to serve for a one year term.
As required by the California Constitution, the Civil Grand Jury is a “watchdog” that investigates the operations of the City and County’s government, including its officers, departments, and agencies.
Civil Grand Jurors are San Franciscans who are passionate about their City; who want to make a difference in their communities; and who work together to carry out the charge of the Jury.
How does it Work?
Individual jurors bring ideas for investigations to the Civil Grand Jury for discussion. The Jury then votes on which issues to pursue as investigations.
The Jury divides itself into committees, which carry out the investigations and write the reports. Each juror typically serves on one or more investigative committees and at least one administrative committee.
To write its reports, Civil Grand Jurors review records and financial documents; interview City and County department heads, elected officials, and staff; and visit government facilities.
Each investigative committee drafts a report, which is then reviewed, deliberated, and discussed by the entire Jury. The reports typically go through several drafts and are carefully edited to ensure accuracy. The Jury must vote to approve each report as final.
After the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court reviews the reports to ensure they meet legal requirements, the reports are issued publicly. The affected departments are required by law to respond to each finding and recommendation contained in the reports.
The Board of Supervisors holds a public hearing on each report. The Civil Grand Jury presents the report and each affected department responds. The Board of Supervisors then issues its own response.
The entire Civil Grand Jury meets once per week, generally in the late afternoon. Subcommittees meet as needed. Most of the Jury’s work takes place during regular business hours.
Jurors must be able to serve the entire one year term, from July 1 through June 30. Jurors must be able to commit time consistently throughout the entire term.
Who is Eligible?
In order to volunteer to be considered for the Civil Grand Jury, you must be a United States citizen; at least 18 years of age; have lived in San Francisco for at least the past one year; have no felony convictions; and have the ability to communicate in English.
How Does the Civil Grand Jury Make a Difference?
The Civil Grand Jury represents the residents of San Francisco. By selecting timely and relevant issues to investigate, the Jury’s reports add a different perspective to the discussion and debates of issues that affect San Franciscans.
Civil Grand Juries have chosen to investigate both big and small issues. The Jury decides as a group how it wants to use its term to affect change in the City.
Frequent topics focus on issues around streamlining processes, such as permitting and planning related to construction issues; encouraging coordination among City departments as related to disaster and emergency preparedness; highlighting needs to expand use of technology in the City; improving the quality of City services, such as MUNI and Public Works; and tracking of performance measures related to budgeting and contracting for services.
Significant reports of prior Civil Grand Juries include the many issues related to funding City pensions; assessing the need to plan for rising sea levels and climate change; tracking progress made in addressing the complex issues related to homelessness; and evaluating the effectiveness of reforms to ethics legislation in City government.
Where Can I Get Civil Grand Jury Reports?
Civil Grand Jury reports from 1995 to the present are available at http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/report.html. Responses from the City departments and agencies to the reports are posted. The Government Desk at the Main Library maintains copies of the reports.
The Board of Supervisors hearings on Civil Grand Jury reports from 2011 to the present are available for viewing at http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/hearings.html.
How do I Apply?
Applications may be downloaded from http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/join.html.
Applications may also be picked up at San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister Street, Room 007.
The application deadline is May 31, 2017.
What Happens after I Submit an Application?
You will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your application.
The most qualified applicants will be invited to attend one mandatory informational session. Sessions will be held on June 6, 7, and 8, 2017.
Applicants who attend the informational session will then participate in selection on June 16, 2017. During selection, a panel of Superior Court Judges will interview each applicant and recommend the most qualified to become the pool from which the Civil Grand Jury will be randomly selected.
Each selected Civil Grand Juror is required to attend training on June 20 and 21, 2017.
The Civil Grand Jury takes office on July 1, 2017.
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