Inyo officials have prepared responses to this year’s Grand Jury recommendations. The Board of Supervisors and the District Attorney have responded to the Jury’s finding that the DA doesn’t have good media relations.
This year’s Jury found that “There is a lack of communication between the District Attorney and news sources in the public’s right to know….” The Supervisors’ response says the media is important to keep the public informed, but they reply that the Supervisors can’t say whether there is a lack of communication between the DA and news sources.
Although he will never say what he thinks has been inaccurate, the DA continues to blame the media for misinformation. The Jury recommended that the DA make regular press releases, in writing and that “the County should set up an ongoing workshop for all County executives on ways to keep and improve media and public relations.” The Supervisors’ response says they have no jurisdiction to dictate the District Attorney’s relationship with the media. The Supervisors go on to say that they believe “the County has a good working relationship with the local news media outlets.” They also say that the County will evaluate ways to improve media relations.
Finally, the Supervisors do say essentially that the District Attorney is an elected official responsible for his own release of public information. Then, they say that the Board of Supervisors “hopes that the District Attorney has and will continue to be forthcoming with public information as he deems appropriate and as provided for within the confines of the law.”
Ever since one of DA Art Maillet’s lawyers was accused to releasing confidential information on Maillet’s political opponent, Maillet has refused to communicate with local media. In a letter directly to the Grand Jury, Maillet blames the news for “sensationalizing” routine news reports and causing a change of venue in a murder case. What Maillet failed to say was he released the information on the stories. He does claim that he will now release routine matters on criminal cases.