Residents speak out, after Madera County Grand Jury report details alleged wrongdoing by city staff

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

“We have our own fireworks here, and we don’t need a, have to, light a match,” Madera resident Ron Montoya said.

Just one day before the Fourth of July, those fireworks briefly exploding inside Wednesday night’s Madera City Council meeting.

“One change that hasn’t been made, is removing our mayor,” Madera landlord and part-time resident Khalid Chaudhry said.

This just days, after the Madera County Grand Jury report accused the city of malfeasance, dodging inquiries, lying, even blocking requests for documents, and conflicts of interests, possibly breaking California government code.

“It was speechless, it kind of, I felt like throwing up, this is our government,” Chaudhry said.

The investigation started, looking into a speculated tie between salary increases of some department heads and increased water rates.

It found the city has no code of ethics, and some administrators and elected officials are doing personal business with the city, as private individuals.

“It was nice to hear that people are watching, listening, and there’s eyes and ears for people like myself,” Montoya said. “And future residents who want to come up here and have a voice.”

The report also claiming the grand jury had to send cease and desist orders, after some violated the jury’s admonition of secrecy.

City of Madera Communications Specialist Joseph Carrello says, the city will be issuing an official response.

“We have 60 days to do so,” Carrello said. “We need to dig through all the facts, and we’re going to speak to what they’ve said.”

The report made many recommendations for the city, from this point on, including agendas written in terms easier for the public to understand.

The Madera County District Attorney is also looking into the report, to see if any criminal charges could come of it.

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