Fresno Deputy District Attorney and Congressional Candidate Andrew Janz appears to have been campaigning while employed with Fresno County District Attorney’s Office on September 18, 2018.
A review of Andrew Janz’s leave request and certification forms from the Fresno District Attorney’s Office, which is public record, show no leave, or time off, requested by Janz on September 18, 2018, who was preparing for his campaign office grand opening at 5139 North Blackstone Avenue in Fresno, California.
Eye witnesses, and Andrew Janz’s social media, show Janz preparing for the opening and taking selfies at various locations around the building on September 18, 2018. According to eyewitness accounts, Janz arrived at his campaign office on Blackstone after leaving the DA’s office at 12:00 PM and stayed past 3:00 PM.
When asked about the possible violation on September 18, 2018 while working for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and what time Andrew Janz returned to the DA’s office, the Janz campaign did not respond to CVO’s request. However, the Janz campaign did respond to the general claim of campaigning while working by stating,
“These allegations have already been dispelled, as outlined in the article below https://www.fresnobee.com/news/politics-government/election/local-election/article218674630.html”
The Fresno Bee article cited by the Andrew Janz campaign was published on September 19, 2018 and did not appear to take into account September 18th. Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp stated in The Fresno Bee article,
“We have had no issues with him and are not aware of him campaigning on County time at all.”
CVO contacted Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp directly on multiple occasions to discuss the possibility of Janz campaigning the day before her statements to the Fresno Bee, but CVO was directed to the Assistant District Attorney.
The District Attorney’s office was asked by CVO to respond to the possibility of Andrew Janz campaigning while employed on September 18, 2018 since no leave request was found in a review of Janz’s leave request forms released by the DA’s office. The DA’s office further responded by stating,
“… [the DA’s Office] tries to be as thorough as possible and does their best to fully comply with public records act requests, but errors can occur …”
and recommended a follow-up public records request for specific time sheets for September 18, 2018. The District Attorney’s office also stated Janz and other staff members who sought elected offices were informed before the election cycle they could not campaign while being compensated by the County.
The Andrew Janz campaign seems poised to take advantage of DA Smittcamp’s statements to the Fresno Bee on September 19, 2018 in a thirty second ad claiming he never campaigned on County time. The ad has b-roll of DA Smittcamp speaking while Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is in the background.
Fresno County Board of Supervisors To Discuss Amendment of Ordinance Related To Leave
The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will meet tomorrow, October 23, 2018, to amend the ordinance related to leave for those County employees seeking elective office. Specifically, the agenda item recommends deleting the current section 3.08.120 and replacing it with section 3.04.030, which states;
“The personnel rules shall establish the procedure for taking such leave, whether such leave is mandatory or voluntary, the elective offices for which leave is required or allowed, the length of leave required or allowed and any exceptions or exclusions from the requirement or allowance of leave.”
Supervisor Buddy Mendes stated the current policy is ambiguous and places pressure on department heads and stated,
“… it is too loose, so let’s fix it.”
The timing of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors amending the policy for County employees seeking elected office is striking this close to the midterm election.