The 2021 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury published their final report, consolidating all previous reports and disclosing the jury members.
In a letter to Judge Gustavo Lavayen, Pamela Olsen, who served as the Grand Jury’s foreperson, wrote, “I am honored to present to you and the citizens of Santa Barbara County the Jury’s consolidated final report. We hope that these reports will help inform the public and contribute to improved local government.”
The Grand Jury interrogated a wide array of issues including remote learning during COVID-19, cybersecurity and jail diversion in Santa Barbara County.
According to their website, the Grand Jury may investigate, evaluate and make recommendations to any city, county or special district agency that receives county funds.
The Grand Jury investigated issues and offered recommendations to public schools, city governments, the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s office and the Board of Supervisors.
While Pamela Olsen served as foreperson, Pat Fallin served as recording secretary, Diante Kerchner as treasurer, John Richards as corresponding secretary and William Werlin as foreperson pro tem.
“We members of this Grand Jury represent a diverse group of dedicated citizens from within the County,” Mrs. Olsen wrote in her letter. “They have demonstrated their commitment to the Grand Jury process by spending countless hours researching, interviewing and writing reports. It has been an honor for me to have had the opportunity to work with these individuals.”
The Grand Jury began their term by assessing the adequacy of the responses to the ten investigative reports issued by the previous year’s jury.
The Grand Jury additionally investigated anonymous complaints regarding financial mismanagement, grade manipulation and a challenging work environment at Allan Hancock College and found the claims unsubstantiated.
The Jury studied public pension plans and found that Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc had a high potential of solvency risks compared to other cities.
“The members of the 2021 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury gained personal satisfaction from their service to the community and appreciate the privilege of serving,” Mrs. Olsen wrote in her letter. “I personally thank the Court for the opportunity to serve as Foreperson.”
All ten reports by the 2021 Grand Jury as well as its members can be viewed at http://www.sbcgj.org/2021/2021FinalReport.pdf.