A group of 25 San Joaquin County citizens who are former and/or current members of a civil grand jury have formed a local chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association (CGJA).
Civil Grand Juries were created in England in the 17th Century and adopted in the United States soon after our nation was established. The California State Constitution requires each of the state’s 58 counties to form a civil grand jury each year. Their role, then and now, is to shine light on government entities and how effectively and efficiently they represent the publics’ interests they were elected or appointed to serve.
The CGJA is a statewide association whose purpose is to support the California grand jury system and the valuable role civil grand juries play in our democratic system of government. The San Joaquin County Chapter will extend that role for the benefit of county citizens through increased oversight regarding accountability and effectiveness of public entities including cities and special districts.
Specifically, the Chapter goals are as follows:
• Reach out to the community and the media for promotion of the benefits of the grand jury as a watchdog over local government operations
• Assist the Superior Court in recruiting qualified candidates for the grand jury as well as help in their training and orientation
• Review how grand jury reports and recommendations have been implemented
The San Joaquin County Chapter elected officers include Gary Spaugh, President; Lou Meyer, Vice President; Gordon Deckelmeier, Treasurer; and Ken Buck, Secretary.
San Joaquin County joins 27 other counties in the state that have Chapters of the California Grand Jurors’ Association. Local media including newspapers, television, and radio have reported on the importance of the Grand Jury to our county. Recently, The Record published an editorial highlighting the significance of grand jury reports, findings, and recommendations, and stressed the importance of our public entities respecting that work. The San Joaquin County Chapter members are forming this organization with such purpose and to support and strengthen the grand jury’s influence in benefiting the citizens of the county.
Any San Joaquin County resident who has served on a grand jury in California is eligible for voting membership in the chapter. County residents who have an interest in supporting the chapter, but have not served on a civil grand jury, can join as auxiliary members. If you are interested in applying for membership, please email Ken Buck, Chapter Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.