Grand Jury Issues Scathing Report Against Calif. Chief

July 02--The chief of the Herald Fire Protection District said Tuesday his office will issue a response within the next few weeks to a scathing Sacramento County grand jury report issued over the weekend.

The grand jury criticized the district for using an unauthorized bank account to conduct business and said the chief is not managing district personnel in accordance with state law.

The June 28 report also alleged that Chief Chris McGranahan, in at least three instances, used his work computer to view photos of "nude and scantily-clad women" that were then emailed to another employee.

The bank account, which was shared with the Herald Volunteer Firefighters Association at the Farmers & Merchants Bank, was used in connection with the rental of two district buildings and was not declared to auditors of the Sacramento County Finance Department, the report said.

McGranahan, who came to Herald Fire in 2009, said the district was working on closing that account when he started working as chief.

"We had been working on cleaning that account up (since I arrived)," McGranahan said. "It was a lengthy process due to it being in existence for so many years."

The racy photos, McGranahan said, were emailed to him and deleted as soon as they were received.

"I had received ... an email with a couple of suggestive pictures on it," McGranahan said. "I told the person not to do it again."

McGranahan said he never forwarded the email to any of his employees and neither he nor the board of directors were ever aware that someone was offended.

"We've never heard about the photos being offensive," he said. "If somebody found that offensive, the board would have done an investigation."

The grand jury report said the district violated the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act, which requires firefighter protections in disciplinary proceedings.

McGranahan said a grievance policy created in the spring of 2013 does follow the law and provides firefighters with certain protections, specifically their right to appeal disciplinary actions.

Before the grievance policy was created, only a disciplinary policy existed, McGranahan said. This disciplinary policy did follow the law, but was not as clear, he said.

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