Board’s Charter Selection Ratifies Parent Union Group’s School Takeover

ADELANTO–The Adelanto Elementary School District’s board voted unanimously January 8 to approve converting severely underperforming Desert Trails Elementary School into a charter academy, more than 20 months after a group of parents at the school launched a school takeover bid using California’s new and controversial parent trigger law.
The school board’s acceptance of LaVerne Preparatory Academy as the operator of Desert Trails beginning next September prepares the way for the first ever full employment of the Parent Empowerment Act, authored by former state senator Gloria Romero and passed by the legislature in 2010. The Parent Empowerment Act  enables a majority of parents at a school at which students score  as low-performers on state academic tests to force a district to implement significant reforms, ranging from replacing the principal and up to half the staff to reopening the school as a charter academy. That process is known by the colloquialism “parent trigger.”
The school board’s endorsement of the takeover plan is a reversal of the initial resistance the district administration and school board made to the parent trigger effort.
Pursuant to the Parent Empowerment Act, a parent union was formed by parents at Desert Trails Elementary in 2011, in large measure at the instigation of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Parent Revolution, which is devoted to challenging the traditional authority of school districts.
On January 12, 2012 the parent union submitted 466 signatures on petitions asking the district to undertake a set of what the parents union maintained would  be reforms at the academically challenged  school.
Those petitions, which called upon the district to sack the school’s principal, David Mobley, and surrender to the school’s parents authority in hiring his successor, infuse in the new principal hiring authority for the school’s faculty, reduce class sizes and increase the number of school days and instructional hours, and include more science, history and art in the curriculum, were sufficient to meet the requirements of the Parent Empowerment Act, parent union members believed. The parent union subsequently modified that agenda to request that the school be converted to a charter academy, offering an intensified curriculum.
A group of parents opposed to the parent takeover of the school formed and went to work obtaining rescissions of many of the signatures on the petitions.
In February 2012, the school district, to whom the parent trigger petitions had been entrusted, announced that it had validated the signatures of only 301 of the 466 signatures on the petitions and declared that the parent trigger petitions were thus 20 signatures short of the 321 needed. The Desert Trails Parent Union, represented by Mark Holscher, a lawyer with the firm on retainer with Parent Revolution, Los Angeles-based Kirkland & Ellis, on April 5, 2012 on behalf of five of the members of the parents union – Doreen Diaz, Kathy Duncan, Teresa Rogers, Olivia Zamarripa and Bartola Del Villar – filed a petition for a writ of mandate and a complaint in Victorville Superior Court seeking a court order that the district verify the signatures and allow the Parent Trigger process to advance.
Holscher maintained that the district did not make an impartial tally of the signatures and “engaged in a systematic effort to invalidate the petitions.”
Judge Steve Malone, to whom the case was assigned, restored 97 of the signatures tossed out by the district. Malone ruled last summer that the district did not have the authority or a basis in law to discount signatures that proponents gathered and the district had abused its discretion in doing so. “Once the petition was submitted, the district and the trustees lacked authority to reject 97 signatures from the petition based on subsequent extrinsic evidence of rescission,” Malone ruled.  “The district and trustees have a mandatory legislative duty to include those signatures.”
By his ruling Malone raised the number of qualified signatures to well above 50 percent. He ordered the Adelanto Elementary School District to accept the petition as filed by the parent union within 30 days and seek proposals from charter school operators to take over Desert Trails.
Even so, the district balked at the parent union’s proposed direction, and delays prevented the school district from converting Desert Trails Elementary into a charter school at the initiation of the 2012-13 academic year in September. In the same time frame, the district’s superintendent, Darin Brawley, resigned. The leaders of the parent union considered several charter school proposals and in October gravitated toward and then chose LaVerne Preparatory Academy, which is operated by Debra Tarver in Hesperia.
LaVerne Preparatory Academy scored among the highest ranking schools in San Bernardino County on Academic Performance tests administered to the state’s schools and school districts, registering 911 out of 1,000 on what is known as the Academic Performance Index. In San Bernardino County, the average index is 767. Desert Trails this fall scored 699 on that index.
By its 4-0 vote, the school board agreed to have the district relinquish control of the campus to LaVerne Preparatory for a three-year period after the current school year ends in June. Tarver and her faculty will move into the Desert Trails this summer.
At the school board meeting on Tuesday, most of the parents in attendance were in a triumphant, almost giddy mood as a result of the board’s action.
For the last seven years, Desert Trails students have had the lowest scores within the district on state standardized academic tests. The school’s students have also collectively scored in the bottom 10 percent of all California elementary schools. In the school’s 2011 graduating sixth grade class 72 percent of students were not proficient with the English language and 70 percent were not proficient in math. Two-thirds of last year’s crop of graduating sixth-graders were unable to read or do math at grade level. Since 2007 Desert Trails has been classified as a failing school. Parents and school board members expressed hope that Tarver and LaVerne Preparatory would be able to apply their formula to bring the school’s students up to par with the norm.
Yet there is remaining skepticism that the parent trigger process in general and in particular the way it is being applied in Adelanto will have the salutary effect that is hoped for. Indeed, there have already been indications that Tarver will experience a severe challenge in uprating academic performance at Desert Trails.
A central component of Tarver’s approach is engaging parents in their children’s educational process.  Whether Tarver can achieve that component at Desert Trails is under question. Whereas 466 parents at the school signed the petition to move forward with the parent trigger process in late 2011 and January 2012, when the parents union held its election in October 2012 to determine which of the charter schools that had submitted proposals should be chosen to educate their children, only 53 parents participated in that vote. Moreover, a significant number of the students at Desert Trails Elementary have parents whose first language is not English and nearly all of the instructional materials used by Tarver and LaVerne Preparatory are in English.
Board president Christine Turner said that nonetheless she is “hopeful” LaVerne Preparatory will be able to turn the situation at Desert Trails around.

GT Files $123K Tax Claim With The County

The city of Grand Terrace is seeking a refund of $123,026.46 in property tax administration fees from the county of San Bernardino.
Grand Terrace City Attorney  Richard Adams on December 13, 2012 filed a claim with the clerk of the county board of supervisors for a refund of tax payments dated December 7. In that filing, Adams indicated the money sought did not pertain to any specific parcel.
On January 8, the board of supervisors referred the claim to the office of county counsel for investigation and a follow-up report.
Grand Terrace City Manager Betsy Adams told the Sentinel the claim was “based upon a recent court decision, Alhambra vs. the county of Los Angeles, which has to do with property tax. Based upon that court decision, the city has filed a claim for property tax funds that we feel the county has withheld that are now due to Grand Terrace.”
At issue in the claim are the changing methods by which the state previously shifted tax revenue from counties and cities to fund education and bond repayments and subsequently rerouted money to those cities and counties from other sources. Several counties, including San Bernardino, charge cities for assessing, collecting and distributing property tax revenue. In creating an education revenue augmentation fund in the early 1990s, the state mandated that tax revenues going into that fund not be assessed an administration fee. The fund shifted part of the property tax revenue counties collected and deposited it into the fund to ensure a guaranteed minimum funding contribution  for schools.
When the state implemented two more budget-shifting and backfilling measures, it reduced  revenue going to the fund, and counties started levying the administration fee on that part of the money again. Most county’s recalculated costs to their cities using the same administrative cost formula and cities which saw contribution  increase in property tax revenue saw their costs increase.
Several cities, including Alhambra, contested that move. An earlier decision in Los Angeles Superior Court favored the county in that litigation, but two subsequent rulings, one at the appellate level and a final one by the California Supreme Court in November, favored the city.
It is upon the basis of that outcome that cash-strapped Grand Terrace has filed a claim with the county for the return of the money.

Judge Rules Taxpayer Groups’ Lawsuit Over Colonies Settlement Can Proceed

Two taxpayer organizations will be allowed to pursue their lawsuit to recover the $102 million paid to the Colonies Partners by the county of San Bernardino in 2006 to end litigation brought over flood control issues at the Colonies project in Upland, Superior Court Judge David Cohn ruled last month.
The Inland Oversight Committee and Citizens for Responsible and Equitable Environmental Development, represented by attorneys Cory Briggs and John McClendon, filed suit against the Colonies Partners in San Bernardino County Superior Court in February 2012, seeking the return of the money.
That lawsuit alleges that former board of supervisors chairman Bill Postmus’s March 2011 guilty plea to receiving bribes from Colonies Partner principal Jeff Burum in exchange for his endorsement of the settlement established that Postmus had violated California Government Code Section 1090, the state’s conflict-of-interest statute. The lawsuit propounds that the violation of Section 1090 negates the applicability and validity of the settlement vote, requiring that the settlement money be refunded.
In 2002, the Colonies Partners, headed by co-managing principals Dan Richards and Jeff Burum, brought a lawsuit against the county and its flood control division over drainage issues at the Colonies at San Antonio residential and Colonies Crossroads commercial subdivisions in northeast Upland. The county was managing the construction of a city of Upland project to construct what was known as the 20th Street storm drain, which conveyed storm waters originating in the northwestern portion of Upland to a water basin located on the Colonies Partners’ property.
On November 26, 2006, three weeks after Bill Postmus had been elected county assessor and Paul Biane had cruised to reelection to the board of supervisors unopposed, a 3-2 vote of the board of supervisors conferred the $102 million settlement on the Colonies Partners, bringing that litigation to an end. Postmus, in one of his final acts as a supervisor before he left that position to become assessor joined with Biane and supervisor Gary Ovitt in approving the settlement that was opposed by supervisor Josie Gonzales and then-supervisor Dennis Hansberger.
In February 2010, Postmus and Jim Erwin, a former sheriff’s deputy union president who had served as a consultant to the Colonies Partners before Postmus hired him as assistant assessor, were indicted by a grand jury and charged with extortion and bribery related to the settlement vote. In that indictment, Biane, Burum, and Richards were identified as unnamed and unindicted coconspirators in the bribery and extortion scheme, along with Patrick O’Reilly, who had worked as a public relations consultant for the Colonies Partners, and Mark Kirk, who at that time was Ovitt’s chief of staff.
Both Postmus and Erwin pleaded not guilty to those charges but in March 2011, Postmus entered guilty pleas to 13 felony counts contained in the indictment, including conspiracy, soliciting and receiving a bribe, conflict of interest, fraud and perjury. He then served as the star witness before another grand jury, which in May 2011 issued a superseding indictment that named Erwin, Burum, Biane and Kirk as participants in an extortion and bribery scheme in which Burum and Erwin were alleged to have first threatened to send out but ultimately withheld mailers and electioneering material during the 2006 election season intended to expose Postmus as a drug-addicted homosexual and Biane as insolvent and then, after the November 26, 2006 vote, rewarded Postmus, Biane and Kirk with $100,000 each in the form of donations to political action committees they directly or indirectly controlled. It was alleged that Kirk had used his influence with Ovitt to sway his vote in favor of the settlement.
In the lawsuit itself and papers filed in conjunction with it, Briggs and McClendon assert that the vote in favor of the settlement was influenced by the provision of bribes to Postmus, Biane, Ovitt and Kirk. Central to the lawsuit is citation of Postmus’s guilty plea, which establishes, according to Briggs and McClendon, a violation of Government Code Section 1090.
One of the provisions of Government Code Section 1090 is that any contract or approval entered into by a governmental entity is rendered null and void if one of those voting on it has a financial interest in the outcome of the vote. Any violation of Section 1090 is a strict liability crime, meaning that intent or foreknowledge of any or all of the parties engaged in the crime does not have be established. In this way, according to Briggs and McClendon, the settlement is no longer operative and the money must be disgorged. This argument represents the heart of the case.
As the defendant and real party in interest, the Colonies Partners in March 2012 filed a demurrer, objecting to and challenging the legal sufficiency of the lawsuit and its causes of action as well as the standing of the parties bringing the action, simultaneously seeking sanctions against the Inland Oversight Committee, Citizens for Responsible and Equitable Environmental Development, Briggs and McClendon for having filed a frivolous lawsuit. That demurrer resulted in Briggs and McClendon amending the suit and the court determining that the plaintiffs have standing and grounds to proceed.
The county filed a demurrer of its own, arguing that the taxpayers associations could not directly bring a suit to recover taxpayer money against a third party, as the Colonies Partners is in this case.
On December 13, Cohn denied the Colonies Partners’ petition to have the lawsuit dismissed and on the same day, Cohn overruled the county’s demurrer.
According to court documents filed by Briggs on November 30, the county lawyers have sent mixed signals with regard to the taxpayer action. On one hand, according to Briggs, the two county attorneys assigned to the case, Mitch Norton and Kevin Dorst, initially appeared to be willing to accommodate and cooperate with the taxpayer groups’ lawsuit, but wanted Briggs and McClendon to delay the prosecution of the suit while the county sought to recover a portion of the settlement cost from the county’s insurance company as well as while it pursued an indemnity/contribution lawsuit from three other governmental entities the county considers to have liability in the matter – the California Department of Transportation; the county’s transportation agency, known as SANBAG; and the city of Upland. Briggs said that in March Dorst requested that Briggs and McClendon “stay,” i.e., delay the suit while the efforts to recover a portion of the $102 million from Caltrans, SANBAG, the city of Upland and the county’s insurance company is ongoing.
“When I asked Mr. Dorst how a stay would help the county, he told me that the county did not want this court to reach the merits of the Section 1090 claim because it feared that a finding that the $102 million settlement agreement was tainted by the bribe accepted by former supervisor Bill Postmus would make it impossible for the county to prevail on its insurance claim and its indemnity/contribution lawsuit,” Briggs stated in a declaration to the court.
Briggs and McClendon stated that the county had a “non-discretionary duty” to ensure that Section 1090 is adhered to. “When it comes down to it, defendants are essentially arguing that, even in the face of substantial evidence that unlawful bribes have been given to county officials, defendants should be given the discretion to turn a blind eye to any such illegalities so long as it makes financial sense to them.  It is an absolute abuse of discretion for defendants to have a ‘guilty’ plea from a member of their governing board admitting to violating Section 1090 in making the $102 million settlement agreement but then refuse to invalidate the agreement.”
Briggs and McClendon openly state in filings with the court that Ovitt, who has not been charged by the district attorney’s office and the state attorney general’s office with any crime, like Postmus and Biane participated in the bribery scheme related to the Colonies lawsuit settlement. Because of that involvement, Briggs and McClendon maintain, Ovitt, who remains on the board of supervisors, is actively resisting pursuing a strategy of triggering the Section 1090 provision to vacate the settlement and is strongarming the county’s lawyers to resist and oppose the taxpayer lawsuit.
County officials at this point, Briggs and McLendon assert in court papers “have no intention of ever going after the Colonies because one of the persons who also took a bribe – supervisor Gary Ovitt – is still on the board of supervisors and does not want to risk exposing himself to civil discovery concerning his role in the $102 million settlement. Unfortunately, supervisor Ovitt is using his influence to make sure that defendants pursue everyone except Colonies.”
Briggs told the Sentinel that there is clear indication that Ovitt “is into this whole thing up to his eyeballs.”
According to lawyers for the Colonies Partners, former federal judge Stephen Larson and Scott Sommer, the entire civil lawsuit Inland Oversight Committee, Citizens for Responsible and Equitable Environmental Development, Briggs and McClendon are pursuing is without merit, as is the criminal case the district attorney’s office and the state attorney general is pursuing against Burum, Biane, Erwin and Kirk. The Colonies defense team has asserted repeatedly that the criminal case against the Colonies Partners is a fictitious and politically motivated abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
Larson said Cohn had erred in his rulings on the demurrers and motion to strike.
“Colonies Partners agrees with counsel for the county of San Bernardino that the lawsuit brought by Cory Briggs and his so-called taxpayer organization is both improper and inappropriate as a matter of law.   We believe that Judge Cohn’s decision to allow the case to proceed is mistaken, and we will appeal that ruling to the Court of Appeal,” Larson said.

Chief Deputy County Recorder Leaves After Three Years Of Recriminations

Chief deputy county recorder De Ana Thompson is leaving her position with the county as of today, nearly four years after several of her underlings made a very public display of objection to what was characterized as her overbearing and intimidating management style.
In April 2009, six employees within the auditor-controller-recorder’s office, as it was then composed, signed a letter to the board of supervisors alleging Thompson was responsible for the proliferation of a stressful work environment.  Four of those employees had taken stress leave and two others had transferred out of the office. Several members of the department suggested that Thompson, who had initially met auditor-controller-recorder Larry Walker  at a Little League game before he persuaded her to leave her job as a sales clerk at a department store to become his personal assistant, had exploited her friendship with their boss to rapidly advance to the management position she held in the office. She had continued to rely upon that personal relationship to keep her position in the face of a rising tide of rebellion among the employees she oversaw, they said.
Among those feeling the sting of Thompson’s lash, were John Pinckney, Wendy Everett, Dennis Tormey and Sean Crees, all of whom filed workers’ compensation claims against the county. Several other employees bemoaned a “dog eat dog” atmosphere in the recorder’s office.
Walker and his then-senior assistant, Betsy Starbuck, however, defended Thompson as “technically proficient” with regard to the digitalized function of the recorder’s office and capable of inducing the division’s employees to meet the production goals Walker and Starbuck had set.
Discontent with Thompson as their supervisor persisted among some of the recorder’s office employees, but in 2010, a reconsolidation of responsibilities in several county offices occurred, when the auditor controller took on the function of the treasurer’s and tax collector’s offices, and the recorder’s function was  transferred to the assessor’s office. In January 2011, Walker sidestepped any further suggestion that he was protecting Thompson when the recorder’s office came under the authority of assessor Dennis Draeger.
The new line of command, however, did not alleviate the hard feelings several of the division’s current and former employees had toward Thompson.  Four workers’ compensation lawsuits were filed against the county that cited a stressful  work environment Thompson had created which  made the continued employment of those that filed them untenable. Two of the cases were settled with the county for a dollar amount short of trial.
A third involved court hearings between December 2011 and October 2012, with the plaintiff, John Pinckney, prevailing in that action, based on a judge’s finding that he had suffered a stress-related industrial injury that stemmed from supervision that was “inadequate and inappropriate.”
A fourth case is yet pending. A county source has told the Sentinel Thompson was pressured into resigning as a consequence of the outcome of Pinckney’s case and the cost the county sustained.  All four who filed claims remain employed by the county in departments outside the recorder’s office.
There was no hint of anything being amiss in the announcement of Thompson’s exodus that went out to her colleagues in the assessor’s office. In a January 3 email to those workers, assistant assessor-recorder Dan Harp wrote, “De Ana has informed me that she will be retiring from the assessor-recorder-county clerk’s office next week. Her last day with the department will be 1-11-2013 and her official retirement date is 1-12-2013.  De Ana has many years of dedicated service to the county of San Bernardino and the recorder’s office and has gathered many accolades on a local, state, and national level.  Her involvement with the various recorder and county clerk organizations has earned her a very high degree of professional respect amongst her peers in the recording and county clerk business.  Many of you have worked with De Ana for years and some of you have worked with her for a lesser time, but all of us who have known and worked with De Ana wish her the best.”

71 Percent Of County Households Have Access To The Internet

Seventy-one percent of San Bernardino County households have access to the internet, according to the county’s chief information officer, Jennifer Hilber.
In her presentation of a proposed resolution in favor of an effort to promote internet access, Hilber told the county board of supervisors this week that “27% of all Californians, 40% of low-income households and 29% of San Bernardino County households are not connected to the Internet with broadband, leaving more than 14 million Californians without high-speed Internet access at home.”
Hilber was making a pitch for the Get Connected! Program, which was originally launched by the California Emerging Technology Fund in June 2009 in Los Angeles as a public awareness program to educate the public about the importance of, and how to obtain, broadband access.
Hilber said the ongoing effort was intended “to close the digital divide,  thereby accelerating economic recovery.” She defined the digital divide as “an inequality concerning the access to information and technology, such as the internet, among groups.”
“In 2011, Get Connected! Inland Empire conducted three regional roundtables that included participation from 44 organizations throughout San Bernardino and Riverside Counties,” Hilber said. “Each roundtable focused on topics such as the digital divide in local communities, accessible technology for people with disabilities and seniors, California’s broadband infrastructure and the potential for health care technology applications to drive economic development, how small businesses can grow when they have access to broadband and the important role digital literacy plays in developing a strong workforce to support economic growth.”
The California Emerging Technology Fund’s mission is to “provide leadership statewide to close the digital divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities and populations,” she said. “The program includes participants such as health providers, community based organizations, government agencies, small businesses, libraries and schools. These entities share resources and collaborate to bring new resources to their regions.”

Supervisors Select Janice Rutherford To Serve As Board Chairwoman

The board of supervisors on January 8 elevated supervisor Janice Rutherford to the position of board chair.
Rutherford, who represents the county’s Second District, replaced Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales as chairwoman. Gonzales served in that capacity for two years, as is customary with board chair appointments. Rutherford’s term in the board’s lead position is set to likewise expire in January 2015.
Rutherford made a comparatively rapid ascension into the chair position. She was first elected to the board in 2010 and was sworn into office in January 2011. In most cases, a supervisor serves longer than two years before being designated chairperson. In the case of Gonzales, for example, she had been on the board for six years before acceding to the position of chairwoman.
“It is a privilege to be selected to serve as chair,” Rutherford said. “The board has made tremendous strides over the past two years to focus on the County Vision and to restore public faith in county government. I pledge to continue those efforts with the help and support of my colleagues on the board of supervisors. I also look forward to reaching out to county employees and listening to their ideas for further progress in the services we provide to residents and taxpayers.”
Rutherford’s reference to the County Vision pertains to a 20-year action plan based upon a survey of county residents.
The board, led by Rutherford, commended Gonzales for her two years of service at the board’s helm. “You have been an outstanding leader and an outstanding mentor,” Rutherford told Gonzales. “It will be impossible to bring the kind of heart and poignancy to the chairmanship that you did.”
The board also appointed supervisor Gary Ovitt, who had served in the capacity of board chairman from 2009 to 2001, to serve as vice chair for the next two years.
“I am honored in the trust my colleagues have placed in me, and I look forward to assisting chair Rutherford and working with my colleagues on the board, our county staff, and the public to achieve our goals and continue to make the county a great place to live, work, and play,” Ovitt said.
The voter-approved San Bernardino County Charter requires the board to elect a chair at its first meeting in January following an election of supervisors. The chair serves as the board’s general executive agent by presiding over meetings of the board, signing contracts approved by the board, working with the county’s chief executive officer to set the board’s agenda, taking action on the board’s behalf when action is necessary prior to a scheduled board meeting, and fulfilling any other duties as assigned by the board.

Summit High School Junior Earns 75 Merit Badges & Eagle Scout Rank

Fontana’s Anthony S. Morales has advanced to the highest level in Boy Scouting, having achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Morales, 17, is a member of Troop 2000 in Fontana.
While a scout must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges to qualify for the Eagle rank, Morales earned an astounding 75 badges. In addition, he completed the required public service project Eagle Scouts must perform. The task he set for himself consisted of 80 hours of improvement work at the elementary school he attended, Resurrection Academy, entailing refurbishing and painting two classrooms, pillars and furniture.
A junior at Summit High School where he is a member of the honor society, Morales, additionally acceded to membership in the Navaho Chapter’s Order of the Arrow. He is a recipient of the Ad Altare Dei Emblem, which is the Catholic Committee on Scouting’s highest recognition. He has taken leadership instruction through the National Youth Leadership Training program.
As a member of Troop 2000, under scoutmaster Eric Herchenroeder, he has served as senior patrol leader, patrol leader, historian, scribe, librarian, and chaplain aide.
As a cub scout six years ago, he earned the highest order at that level of scouting, the Arrow of Light.
His parents are Samuel and Sally Morales.
The Court of Honor where he will receive his medal will be held on Monday, January. 28 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Intermediate School.

Sheriff’s Department Making Criminal Data Base Available To USMC

The sheriff’s department has extended its arrangement with the U.S. Marine Corps for the provision of law enforcement data system retrieval and breathalyzer availability.
Overall, the federal government will pay the county $14,509 for the use of its facilities and equipment.
Under one contract, the sheriff’s department will receive $4,587 for continuing to provide the U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Base at Barstow with access to the sheriff’s automated systems from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
By state mandate, the department oversees the local switching center that allows access by local law enforcement agencies to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS), a state-wide criminal justice database. In turn, the department contracts with various agencies to spread the cost of the system among the agencies using the system. Contracts with federal agencies are renewed annually to revise the fee schedule to ensure proper cost recovery to the county. The amendment to the contract with the Marine Corps approved by the board of supervisors this week exercises the contract’s one year option and increases the contract amount by $4,587 from $2,910 to $7,497.
Additionally, the board approved the continuation of a previous contract with the U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms whereby the sheriff’s department will receive $9,922 for providing access to the sheriff’s automated systems and maintaining a breath alcohol analysis instrument from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
The sheriff’s department provides maintenance and calibration of breath alcohol analysis instruments to local law enforcement and government agencies. That service includes computer support, data upload/storage, program download, instrument diagnostics and reports provided by the department’s scientific investigations division.
The proposed contract is a renewal for the combined services of sheriff’s automated systems, in the amount of $7,522, and the maintenance of one breath alcohol analysis instrument, in the mount of $2,400.

County To Expend $30,000 On 1st Quarter Workforce Board Junkets

The county will spend $29,893.44 to pay for the traveling and lodging expenses of its workforce investment board members who will attend various conferences in and outside of California this month and in February and March.
According to Sandy Harmsen, the director of the county’s workforce development department, workforce investment board members Phil Cothran, Joseph Williams and Tony Myrell will attend the California Workforce Association Youth Employment Conference 2013 in Garden Grove from January 14 through January 17, 2013 at an estimated cost of $3,607.14.
Harmsen also said board members Jon Novack, William Sterling, Phil Cothran and Audrey Mathews will attend the California Workforce Association Advocacy Workshop in Sacramento from January 29 through January 31 at an estimated cost of $3,502.48.
Harmsen said that Audrey Mathews will attend the 2013 National Skills Summit in Washington, D.C. from February 10 through February 14, 2013 at an estimated cost of $2,479.82.
And, Harmsen said, board members Will Sterling, Tony Myrell, Logan Olds, Audrey Mathews, Phil Cothran and Mike Gallo will attend the National Association of Workforce Boards Forum 2013 in Washington, D.C. from March 9 through March 14, 2013 at an estimated cost of $20,304.
“The Workforce Investment Board consists of representatives appointed by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors from private and other mandated sectors to oversee the operation of the federal Workforce Investment Act job training programs for eligible residents of San Bernardino County,” Harmsen said. “The Workforce Investment Act focuses on employment and training being administered at the local level where these needs are best understood.”

Police Chief Will Double As Fire Chief While Upland Mulls Outsourcing Options

UPLAND – Police chief Jeff Mendenhall has assumed the temporary position of Upland fire chief following the expiration of interim fire chief Dave Carrier’s contract.
Carrier, who retired as fire chief in Ontario after 36 years with that department in December 2011, had been serving as fire chief in Upland since May 2012. He replaced Mendenhall, who had temporarily moved into the post following the departure of former fire chief Mike Antonucci, who retired in September 2011, but remained in place under contract for six months.
Carrier was brought in with the assumption that he would remain only 10 weeks until the city recruited a new fire chief. In July, however, the city increased his contract for another 960 hours.
At present, the city has reportedly found a fire chief candidate, but has not negotiated final terms on his contract and has been further stymied by the consideration that a proposal to outsource the department is under consideration. In an effort to reduce costs, the city is considering contracting with the city of Ontario, the California Division of Forestry or the county of San Bernardino for fire protection service.
City manager Stephen Dunn is in negotiations with the firefighters’ union over salary and benefit concessions, the outcome of which will have a bearing on whether the city will retain its in-house fire department under its current configuration. For that reason, the city does not want to enter into an employment contract with a new fire chief if there remains the possibility the fire department will be dissolved.