Kern County Grand Jury unveils scathing report on California City

California City continues to face a multitude of crises and has failed to keep a city manager long term.

A report from the Kern County Grand Jury highlights various crises facing California City, specifically with financial and leadership issues. 

The grand jury was tasked with investigating complaints regarding the overall operations and performance of the city.


Driving the news: According to the report, previously used terms including “financial crisis” “leadership crisis” “budget crisis,” and “dysfunction” still apply to the current situation.

  • The grand jury conducted interviews with councilmembers, residents, and city staffers, attended city council meetings, and reviewed previous reports, financial statements, meetings, agendas and minutes.
  • One of the findings is that frequent turnover in the City Manager position has been disruptive to the effective governance of the city, with seven different city managers in the past two years. 
  • The report highlights the dire financial situation of California City, which operates on a month-to-month basis using a preliminary budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Per the report, California City has lacked long-term planning, and budgets were not approved on time in the past three years, causing financial instability.
  • The closure of the California City Correctional facility and failure to collect cannabis industry revenues have contributed to the city’s financial troubles.
  • Lack of transparency is also noted, as the city council has not consistently maintained or posted its meetings, agendas, or approved minutes on its website.
  • The report concludes with recommendations for the city council, including hiring a full-time city manager, deputy city manager, and finance director by specific dates.
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