Civil grand jurors to receive compensation increases for service

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Members of the Riverside County civil grand jury will see their daily compensation more than double next month, following a unanimous decision by the Board of Supervisors.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Sept. 15, the board raised daily per diem payments 140%, from $25 to $60.
Supervisor Karen Spiegel was the principal advocate of changing the compensation formula, arguing that at $25 per day, “jurors are basically donating their time.”
The modified payment structure takes effect on Oct. 15.
Spiegel said when she took office nearly two years ago, she met with members of the civil grand jury, and one of the chief complaints was inadequate per diem for the time given to tasks.
The last time the compensation formula was changed was in 1993, when jurors were receiving $15 per day for service, according to the county Executive Office.
A comparative study conducted by the Executive Office showed that Riverside County’s existing payment structure was on par with San Diego County, where jurors receive $25 per day and are required to dedicate 32 hours a week to work.
However, in Los Angeles County, the per diem is $60 per day, as it is in San Bernardino County, where jurors are only required to meet Tuesday to Thursday, while in Orange County, the compensation is $50 per day, with a minimum 23-hour per week commitment, according to the study.
With the compensation hikes, the budget for the grand jury will increase from $400,000 to $580,708 in the current fiscal year.
Riverside County’s 19-member civil grand jury is in session year-round, investigating complaints from the public about government agencies and conducting inquiries of its own.
The current jury was seated in June.
“This is an opportunity to say that if anybody’s interested, we’re always looking for residents to serve on the grand jury,” Spiegel said.
More information is available at http://riverside.courts.ca.gov/, where users can select the “grand jury” option at the bottom of the homepage and read further.