District attorney demands more funding for Public Integrity Unit

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Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green demanded more funding for the Public Integrity Unit Tuesday morning during the county supervisors meeting. The same unit spearheaded the investigation that ultimately led to charges against County Supervisor Leticia Perez. 

Green said funding for the Public Integrity Unit is more important than ever as the number of complaints is increasing.. 

“Due to the lack of investigators we are experiencing a severe backlog. We’ve had referrals from the grand jury and the public regarding theft and fraud which have waited almost 18 months to begin the investigations,” Green said.

Green said complaints include cases of potential misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in public and private funds.

“Most recently, we received complaints from the elections division of Kern County. 117 are waiting to be acted on by my office,” she said. 

Green and D.A.-elect Cynthia Zimmer asked the board not to cut 2.5-percent from their budget. That’s $420,000 to fund two additional investigators to deal with the increased caseload.

Supervisor Mick Gleason agreed to discuss a resolution with the County Administrative Office. 

Gleason said, “Public integrity strikes the core of who we are, what we are. If we can’t maintain that in a strong profile, so that everybody knows that the decision we make up here are at least legitimate and have strength of integrity, then we can’t act.” 

Supervisor David Couch also said he would like to further discuss Green’s concerns. 

Green said in the last six years, the unit has handled 87 cases. 

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