In Exchange For Six-And-A-Half Months Pay, Lamberto To Leave County

San Bernardino County and its highest elected and appointed officials this week turned the page on the county governmental structure’s most recent chapter in its book of scandal, agreeing to pay a total of $182,681.69 to its embattled director of personal to take an extended six-month leave and quietly end his employment status with the county thereafter.
An ironic element of the matter is that it was San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux who was tasked by the board of supervisors last week to sever Andrew Lamberto from the county. Until very recently, Devereaux utilized Lamberto, whose title is director of human services, to carry out terminations and layoffs of county employees.
The fuse to Lamberto’s demise was lit last March when he was arrested in Orange County on a charge of soliciting a prostitute. He pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 10 days of community service and three years of unsupervised probation. Word of the matter reached San Bernardino County shortly thereafter, when the Orange County District Attorney’s Office posted documentation of the guilty plea three months ago. The information lay dormant, partly over a lack of clarity as to whether the Andrew Lamberto identified by Orange County authorities was one and the same with the San Bernardino County official of the identical name. Once that confirmation was made in mid-October, Devereaux was hit with a firestorm of criticism for having disciplined Lamberto without fanfare by docking him two-week’s pay and transforming him into an at-will employee without future civil service protection.
As members of the board of supervisors were subjected to obloquy over the matter, Devereaux publicly announced that he had elected in March, when he had first learned of Lamberto’s arrest, to not inform the board. Shortly after the matter garnered widespread public attention, Cal State University San Bernardino, which employed Lamberto as an adjunct professor in its school of public administration, readied itself to terminate him and he resigned his post there. Public criticism of the highest levels of county government intensified, and resulted in the board quietly directing Devereaux last to week to ease Lamberto out if it was at all possible, and if he did not cooperate in leaving, find some way of terminating him.
This presented a challenge to both Devereaux and the county, since Lamberto had technically already been disciplined by the county for the March incident. As an expert in employment issues, employment law and employee rights, Lamberto was sophisticated enough to understand that, despite the very obvious damage he had done to his reputation and that of the county as a consequence of his arrest and his guilty plea, the legal grounds for firing him outright were weak. Furthermore, the terms of his original employment contract shielded him, and he would be able to sue the county if he were to be unilaterally dismissed for an incident that took place while that contract was in effect.
One week after Devereaux took up the assignment, he worked out a settlement with Lamberto, the full terms of which have not been disclosed, but which calls for Lamberto ceasing actual work for the county as of his having been placed on administrative leave last week but remaining on the county payroll through May 27, 2016, during which time he will receive all of his current salary and benefits, based upon his total annual compensation of $337.258.51, which is composed of his yearly $191,073 salary and annual benefits of $146,185.51.
The full board approved the terms worked out between Devereaux and Lamberto during a closed session on November 12.
“It was not easy for the board to agree to these terms following this incident. However, given the great potential for litigation in employment matters, which would cost taxpayers unknown financial liabilities, this was clearly the best option,” Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos said.
The deal contained a mutual release of all future claims by either party, the county or Lamberto.
“It is time to move on and focus our energies on meeting the needs of our county community,” said Ramos.

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