In an effort to help sort out the individuals involved with the current dysfunctional environment within the City Council, we have assembled a list of the parties involved.
- She was the chief audit officer for the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission for nearly six years. She is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner. Hired 6 months ago by the City.
- New City auditor who Houston has been the ongoing subject of job evaluations since early August, the first coming just three days after she requested information regarding a large city project. Multiple citizens and Council Member came to her defense.
Kristi Ah You
- Modesto Council member that has publically claimed the job evaluations of the new City auditor were illegal
- Modesto Council member said in an open council meeting that the overspending “were on Joe Lopez’s watch
- Said in an open meeting “that city staff falsified documents and that City Manager Joe Lopez waited days before informing him of a Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury investigation into a city purchasing scandal that involved about $16 million in over-spending.
- Said in an open council that “Our city is broken, and we must take appropriate steps to fix it,” the mayor said during the meeting.
Doug Ridenhour and Jenny Kenoyer
- Asked for an investigation into Kristi Ah You’s allegations
- Ridenour asked for an investigation into the allegations the mayor made, which included claims that city staffers falsified documents that could affect future funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Kenoyer said the mayor made “severe allegations” against people who sit on the council dais, and the city needs to investigate the allegations made against the city manager. She said the over-spending is an old issue, and she questioned the mayor’s motives for discussing it Tuesday
- Said in an open council meeting that the grand jury had asked for documents to investigate the over-spending in a letter to the city manager.
- Suggested that the City had falsified documents
- Brandvold questioned why Lopez waited a few days before informing him of the letter from the Grand Jury.
- Interim City Manager for 13 months until he was hired full time
- Said in response to the mayors questioning as to the delay in the “grand Jury letter” that the grand jury had asked for documents to investigate the over-spending in a letter to the city manager.
- Lopez said the letter was marked confidential, so he first asked the city attorney what he should do before informing the council. He said he didn’t want to harm the integrity of the grand jury’s investigation
Concerned Citizens that addressed the Council
- The residents said Houston was more than qualified to uncover inefficiencies in city operations. They asked the City Council why the auditor’s performance coming into question only several months after she had been hired.
Civil Grand Jury
- The Civil Grand Jury is empowered to investigate complaints from citizens, civic groups, government employees and others about the operations of County and City governments and the conduct of their officers and employees. The Civil Grand Jury may also investigate complaints within special districts and school districts.
- The Grand Jury is the guardian of public trust in local government. This is known as the “Civil Watchdog” function. The Grand Jury exists to assure honest and efficient government. Criminal indictments are now handled solely by the Criminal Grand Jury. The creation of a two-grand-jury system enables the Civil Grand Jury more time to focus on its oversight function.
- Committees are formed to study citizen complaints. The Grand Jury itself also selects additional areas that it wishes to study/investigate. At the end of the fiscal term on June 30th, the Grand Jury publishes its findings, conclusions and recommendations in a Final Report which is distributed to public officials, libraries and the press. Agencies or departments, which are the subjects of investigations, are required to respond to the findings and recommendations within 90 days.
- The selection of the Civil Grand Jury is a process directed by the presiding judge of the Superior Court and involves names which have been randomly selected from the master jury pool and names which have been submitted by community leaders