July 16, 1997
Honorable Judge William L. Gordon
Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior court
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, California 93121
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY GRAND JURY INTERIM FINAL REPORT RE: BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
The purpose of this letter is to transmit the City of Santa Maria's formal response to subject report dated June 9, 1997. According to Penal Code Section 933, the City has 90 days to reply to the Grand Jury Report. This letter is intended to satisfy that reporting requirement.
The Grand Jury made seven findings, three of which affect the City of Santa Maria. Following is the City of Santa Maria's formal response to these findings:
We wish to thank the Grand Jury for their commendation regarding Santa Maria's method of tracking boards and commissions.
FINDING 1: Boards and commissions established by local resolution or minute order may no longer be needed because their original purpose has been accomplished. There is a need for a written policy for disbanding a committee.
RECOMMENDATION: Governing bodies should review usefulness of boards and commissions on a periodic basis, and a policy should be established to disband a committee no longer needed.
CITY RESPONSE: The recommendation has been implemented. When the annual update of the Maddy List (list of boards and commissions) is accomplished, the usefulness of each board and commission is reviewed. If there is no longer a need for a particular board or commission, appropriate action is taken to disband said board or commission.
FINDING 6: Reporting to governing bodies via agendas and minutes may not adequately indicate effectiveness of boards and commissions. Annual reports are not consistently required or submitted.
RECOMMENDATION: The County should develop a method for boards and commissions to report their activities to governing bodies and the community.
CITY RESPONSE: We respectfully disagree with the recommendation. Agendas and minutes give the City Council the most detailed review of each board and commission activity. Council members are able to make inquiries of board/commission members if they have questions or desire more information about an issue or topic. In addition, annual reports are provided from City departments which include activities of boards and commissions staffed by the departments. These annual reports allow council members to review the effectiveness of boards and commissions.
FINDING 7: An organization chart or matrix would help to clarify the function of each board or commission and its relationship to governmental structure. Such a chart or matrix would also identify redundancy or an unmet need.
RECOMMENDATION: Administrators should develop an organization chart or matrix to clarify the function of each board and commission and to identify the community need being filled.
CITY RESPONSE: We respectfully disagree with the recommendation. The Maddy List (list of boards and commissions) which is updated each year gives a detailed description of the function of each board and commission. A chart or matrix would give such sketchy information that it would be of little value and only constitute more work for City staff.
The City of Santa Maria welcomes this opportunity to respond to the Grand Jury Report.