County Seeks New Crop of Civil Grand Jurors

County Seeks New Crop of Civil Grand Jurors

Alameda County officials are looking for new members to join the Alameda County Civil Grand Jury.

The prospective members will become the citizen watchdog group that investigates the operations of County, city, and special agencies such as school districts, BART, EBMUD and other public and non-profit agencies conducting business in Alameda County. At the end of their investigations the Grand Jury issues a report that includes their findings and recommendations for improving operating practices and efficiencies of these agencies.

The county seeks a diverse group of citizens who will bring perspectives and experiences from both their local community and their own personal backgrounds to the Civil Grand Jury. The members will decide what and who to investigate and agencies are legally required to respond in writing to the jury’s findings and recommendations.

Persons selected for service must commit to serve a minimum of one year (July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023).

Applicants are interviewed by a panel of Superior Court Judges and a panel of 19 jurors are selected by random draw from a pool of 30 candidates. The jury meets on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Oakland. Grand jurors will often be asked to devote additional time to their service.

Grand jurors will receive training and support throughout their service. They must be willing to participate in questioning witnesses, reading and analyzing investigative materials and writing final reports.

To become a grand juror, the applicant must be a United States citizen, have a residence in Alameda County for at least one year, be at least 18 years of age and have sufficient knowledge of the English language.

In 2020, the Civil Grand Jury investigated Alameda Health System (AHS) over its financial health — Alameda Hospital is a part of AHS. According to the report, AHS’ audited financial statements from June 30, 2019, showed AHS having a negative net worth of $300.6 million. AHS’ internal budget documents reported AHS having a cash deficit of approximately $144 million in fiscal year 2020.

The Civil Grand Jury learned at a meeting on May 22, 2019, AHS administration explained its position to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. They said it was a possibility that with no financial assistance AHS might be $572 million in debt to the County by FY 2022.

The Civil Grand Jury recommended AHS and the County agree on a scope of services and how to provide them. Also, they suggested AHS include all revenue and expense accounts in accordance with pronouncements of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, beginning with the 2021 fiscal year budget. The jury also suggested the County and AHS collaborate to pay AHS’ long-term debts with the County and set aside cash to pay prior-year liabilities. The grand jury listed other recommendations.

Civil Grand Jury reports have led to changes by several other organizations. These include a uniform system of emergency communications between all county agencies; reorganized and expanded storage capacity for retention of government emails; and an expanded emphasis on ethics training and expense control at the Port of Oakland.

For more information, or to apply, visit The deadline to apply is April 15.