BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The State Department of Justice is investigating Kern County’s government over alleged discrimination and civil rights violations in contracts and employment, the investigation may be linked to a controversial Board of Supervisors decision a year ago.
17 News has obtained a Kern County internal memo sent to all county department heads notifying them of an active investigation by the DOJ.
The 5-page memo comes from county counsel Margot Raison but no specific reason or incident is cited for the investigation.
The memo asks to “preserve all documents and materials” that indicate the refusal to hire or work with any contractors based on political or social positions.
In a statement to 17 News, Raison says:
“Kern County was informed by the California Attorney General that an investigation is occurring into contracting and employment practices of the County. The County is and will fully cooperate with the investigation. We are confident the practices of the County are in keeping with all Federal and State laws and regulations and anticipate the investigation will so conclude.”
The document specifies that state investigators want any 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 board of supervisors denied these organizations over 1-million dollars in state funding for COVID-19 related projects by the Kern County Board of Supervisors back in October 20-20.
The move happened after Supervisor Zack Scrivner notified the board that building Healthy Communities had posted views that were unsupportive of the police on its Facebook page.
The funds were to be used for ads in ethnic media and direct outreach to non-English speaking communities.
17 News did reach out to county supervisors as well as to Building Healthy Communities, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Vision y Compromiso, and Adelante Strategies for comment but none were available or did not get back to our request.