Civil grand jury: 3 Hughson councilmen broke law, should be ousted

Three Hughson city councilmen violated state law and should be removed, the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury said in a report issued today.

Though not listed by name in the report, the councilmen are identifiable as Thom Crowder, Doug Humphreys and Ben Manley.

The three "disregarded their fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Hughson," the report says. They also orchestrated the attempted firing of the city manager, clerk and engineer.

E-mails sent among the three regarding a city streetscape project and plans to hire a new city manager violated the Brown Act, the state’s law governing public meetings, the grand jury said.

The grand jury also found that city administration did not commit acts of "willful misconduct."

Jurors recommended that Crowder, Humphreys and Manley "resign or be removed by the Attorney General of the State of California, the (Fair Political Practices Commission) or a recall by the citizens of Hughson."

The Bee left telephone messages for each of the three councilmen but none had commented as of 2 p.m.