Kern County investigated for alleged discrimination and civil rights violations

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The State Department of Justice is investigating the Kern County government into allegations of discrimination and civil rights violations in contracts and employment, the investigation may be linked to a controversial decision of the Supervisory Board a year ago.

17 News obtained an internal memo from Kern County sent to all county department heads advising them of an active DOJ investigation.

The 5-page memo is from county attorney Margot Raison, but no specific reason or incident is cited for the investigation.

The note asks to “keep all documents and materials” that indicate refusal to hire or work with subcontractors on the basis of political or social positions.

In a statement to 17 News, Raison said:

“Kern County has been informed by the California Attorney General that an investigation is underway into the county’s contracting and employment practices. The county is cooperating and will cooperate fully with the investigation. We are confident that the county’s practices comply with all federal and state laws and regulations and expect the investigation to end as such. “

The document states that state investigators want all documents and communications with dozens of organizations that are part of the Building Healthy Communities Coalition.

Among them, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Jakarta Movement, Vision y Compromiso and Adelante Strategies to name a few.

The watchdog denied these organizations more than $ 1 million in public funding for COVID-19-related projects by the Kern County Watchdog on October 20 and 20.

The move came after Supervisor Zack Scrivner informed the board of directors that Building Healthy Communities had posted opinions unfavorable to the police on its Facebook page.

The funds were to be used for advertisements in ethnic media and to directly educate non-English speaking communities.

17 News reached out to county supervisors as well as Building Healthy Communities, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Vision y Compromiso and Adelante Strategies for comment, but none were available or responded to our request.

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