Kern County is seeking volunteers to serve on the grand jury for a one-year term beginning in July, according to a county news release.

The grand jury consists of 19 citizens, and the goal is to build a volunteer pool representative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of Kern County, according to officials.

The grand jury acts as an investigative body to ensure county, city and district governments operate efficiently and public funds are being handled in the best interests of the public. The grand jury also hears evidence of public offenses as presented by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, and may issue criminal indictments when appropriate. Additionally, the grand jury may issue accusations against public officials that could result in their removal from office upheld by the courts.

Jurors need to be available for 20 hours a week from approximately 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday for the fiscal year July 2022 through June 2023. Members of the grand jury receive a daily stipend based on the hours worked, and they’re reimbursed for personal vehicle use at the prevailing county rate.

A member must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, have resided in Kern County at least one year and have a working knowledge of the English language. Additionally, a candidate may not: have served on a grand jury in another California county within the past year; have a conviction for malfeasance in office or of any felony; or be serving as an elected public official. No law degree or special credential is required.

Once scheduled, interested applicants must attend an information overview meeting in March. Thereafter, applicants are interviewed and nominated by Kern County Superior Court judges. Once nominated, jurors are selected through a random drawing in open court in June.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 25. Applications are available online at www.kerncounty.com/government/other-agencies/grand-jury. For information, contact the Grand Jury office at 661-868-4797.