Sheriff Scott Jones has backed off many of his proposals when it comes to the office that is supposed to oversee his department. But he still insists changes must be made to the position of inspector general — he’s just failed to convince a majority of Sacramento County supervisors.
Jones and County Executive Navdeep Gill presented their latest proposed changes to the inspector general’s job description at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting.
Jones told the board that he’s concerned about oversight language in the job description that would give ”the inspector general greater latitude, or broader latitude or a greater mandate, than he or she otherwise would have."
But Jones’ critics, including Supervisor Phil Serna, argued that the sheriff is still trying to strip the inspector general position of its independence and oversight abilities.
"This is kabuki theater, quite frankly,” Serna said of the process.
Discussion over the role and power of the inspector general began two months ago, when Jones barred Braziel, the former Sacramento police chief and current inspector general, from entering county buildings and interviewing sheriff’s department employees.
Jones’ move came after Braziel released a report criticizing his deputies in the fatal shooting of Mikel McIntyre. Braziel said they fired an excessive number of shots and put the public in danger when they killed McIntyre along Highway 50 in Rancho Cordova in May 2017.
After barring Braziel, Jones rewrote the inspector general's job description and submitted a draft to the board of supervisors.
The board asked for revision two weeks ago, and the sheriff returned this week with a second effort.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Don Nottoli noted that Jones appeared to want to take away the inspector general’s autonomy to oversee departments.
"Monitor-style oversight. I think that word ‘oversight’ is important," Nottoli said, adding that the inspector general’s access to crime scenes and county buildings should be stated directlyin the job description, not implied.
Karen Gunderson was one of more than a dozen people who spoke against changes to the inspector general position that would put it under the sheriff’s authority.
“I find this process of revisiting a contract in the middle of its term to be re-enforcing of a public official, who had a, frankly, a temper tantrum,” she said.
Every member of the community who spoke voiced support for someone to provide independent oversight over the sheriff’s department and use-of-force incidents.
Supervisor Sue Frost said it was “OK” if the board looked further at the language in the job description, but also sided with Jones.
“Sheriff Jones said this contract provides more clarity. I agree that there was a lack of clarity in the last contract and this one is better,” Frost said.
Supervisors voted to hold a public workshop as it considers how the inspector general's role should be defined, as well as the possible uses of a charter revision, grand jury or subpoena power to provide more independent oversight of the sheriff’s department.
At the meeting, the sheriff said he would support that Braziel serve as inspector general for another year under the terms laid out in Jones’ second draft.
The board is scheduled to take up the issue again December 4.
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