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Hughson City Council members come under fire, again, from Civil Grand Jury
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The three Hughson City Council members found to be violation of the Brown Act, the Hughson Municipal Code and the Fair Political Practices Commission are now in trouble for not responding to the Civil Grand Jury.
A letter submitted to Hughson Mayor Ramon Bawanan on March 29 from the Civil Grand Jury states that council members Thom Crowder, Ben Manley and Doug Humphreys are in violation of California Penal Code section 933 (c), which basically states that a response is due within 90 days after the grand jury issues its final report.
The City of Hughson did respond to the Dec. 22, 2009 findings of the Civil Grand Jury, but the first recommendation that states “the Civil Grand Jury recommends Councilmen A, B and C resign or be removed by the Attorney General of the State of California, the FPPC or a recall by the citizens of Hughson” was not responded to by the three individual council members.
At the Feb. 22 City Council meeting, all five council members approved the response to the Civil Grand Jury findings.
At that same meeting Crowder, Humphreys and Manley agreed to respond as individuals to the Civil Grand Jury recommendations, but they have, so far, failed to do so.
“In checking with Judge Jacobson, there was no receipt of the individual responses from Councilmen A, B and C,” reads the letter from Civil Grand Jury Foreperson Denis France.  
Since Crowder, Manley and Humphreys did not respond as individuals to the first recommendation, the Civil Grand Jury can begin a new investigation, according the letter from France.
“One of our grand jury committees has the responsibility of monitoring responses to grand jury reports to ensure that responses are appropriate, complete, and address each finding and recommendation. If the full panel does not believe that the responding agency has fulfilled its obligation, the panel can initiate a new grand jury investigation. Please contact the grand jury office to inform us as to the status of these individual responses and when we can expect to receive them,” France writes in his letter.
The letter from the Civil Grand Jury requesting the three councilmen’s response has been placed on the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting for discussion.
Other items the Hughson City Council will discuss at Monday’s meeting include: Completion of the recall petition for council members Crowder, Humphreys and Manley by the citizens of Hughson, termination of the employment agreement with the Interim City Clerk, filling the City Manager position, direction on the City’s hiring practices, violations of the City of Hughson Code of Conduct by Crowder, amending the Hughson Municipal Code to give the hiring authority to the City Council instead of the City Manager and a closed session employee performance evaluation of City Attorney John Stovall.
The Hughson City Council meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Community/Senior Center in Hughson.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015