Councilwoman Mary Jackson Exonerated in Civil Grand Jury Investigation

Councilwoman Mary Jackson Exonerated in Grand Jury Investigation

 

Councilwoman Mary Jackson’s statement:

 

“First of all, I appreciate the volunteers on the civil grand jury who dedicated their time doing this tough job in our county.

 

The civil grand jury report clearly confirms what I’ve been saying all along, it exonerates me from doing anything wrong, the perception of a conflict-of-interest was not the majority of Turlock citizens but a few people who are politically motivated.

I will continue to follow high standards and hold the rest of our city officials to the same standards. Again, I will not be silenced from the job I was elected to do.”

 
 

Turlock City Council Member

 

Civil Grand Jury Case #09-16-C

 

2008-2009

 

SUMMARY:

 

The 2008-2009 Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury received a complaint against a

Turlock City Council Member alleging a violation of conflict of interest laws and official

misconduct.

 

Through interviews and document review, the Civil Grand Jury found that no financial

nor common law conflicts of interest existed on the part of the Turlock City Council

Member. 

 

The Civil Grand Jury recommends that newly elected and appointed officials be given the

written guidelines addressing Financial and Common Law Conflicts of Interest so they

can make appropriate decisions for themselves, their constituents, and colleagues.

 
 

BACKGROUND:

 

The Turlock City Council Member is an elected official for the City of Turlock. This

Council Member, who is the subject of a complaint, was elected to this position in

December 2008. Her current term will end 2012.

 

. A citizen complaint was filed with the Civil Grand Jury alleging that the Turlock City

Council Member’s campaign manager was the attorney of record for the business,

which constitutes misconduct and/or conflict of interest. 

 

. The Turlock City Council Member voted on an issue in which she was alleged to

have a conflict of interest.

 
 

METHODS OF INVESTIGATION:

 

. Interviews

 

. Review of printed State doctrines, Fair Political Practices Commission

 

. Review of printed materials, confidential memos

 

. Council Member’s completed California Form 410, Statement of Organization

Recipient Committeefor elected officials

 

. The California Common Law Conflict of Interest Doctrine

 

. The California “Financial Conflict of Interest Doctrine

 

FINDINGS:

 

. The attorney of record for the business in question was found not to be the Turlock

Council Member’s campaign manager.

 

. The Turlock City Attorney advised the Council Member that she “may have a

potential common law conflict.

 

. Often the perception of wrongdoing is greater than the offense itself. This appears to

be the case here; wherein no actual wrongdoing was found to exist, the perception of

wrongdoing does (exist).

 

. Financial Law Conflict of Interest is easy to understand; however, this was never an

issue. The Common Law Conflict of Interest doctrine is somewhat broader in scope

and subject to varied interpretations.

 

. No evidence exists to support the Common Law Conflict of Interest complaint

regarding the actions concerning the Turlock Council Member.

 

. The decision to recuse one’s self is of great importance to every elected or appointed

official. An elected office holder must act with unquestioned integrity at all times,

ensuring the public trust.

 

. The Council Member’s actions at no time compromised the good standing of the

Turlock City or the City Council as a whole.

 

. The Turlock City Council Member should have recused herself to avoid any

perception of wrongdoing.

 
 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

. The Turlock City Attorney’s responsibilities should include the maintaining of

revisions and updates of material addressing Common Law and Financial Conflict of

Interest doctrines.

 

. The Turlock City Attorney should be responsible for distributing this information to

all elected and appointed officials bi-annually.

 

. The Turlock City Attorney should create and maintain a log which verifies that all

elected and appointed officials received materials detailing Common Law and

Financial Conflict of Interest doctrines. Verification of receipt shall be confirmed by

each elected or appointed official’s signature.

 

. The Turlock City Council should provide oversight to the Turlock City Attorney

regarding the above recommendations.

 
 

RESPONSE:

 

. Turlock City Council

 

. Turlock City Attorney

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