County Supervisors Make Three Paradoxical Votes On COVID-19 Emergency Continuation

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to end the state of emergency it had originally declared March 10, 2020 pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, have the county’s chief executive officer determine how to allocate $423.5 million the county has received in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding intended to cover the financial burden of dealing with the coronavirus crisis and simultaneously made a finding that that there is an urgent need to proclaim a local emergency within San Bernardino County and its urgent medical services response system resulting from the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
That action was taken in three successive items – 32, 33 and 34 – on the board’s March 1 meeting agenda. The staff reports for all three items were written by County Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez.
In the staff report for Item 32 Agenda, Hernandez wrote he was asking the board to authorize the chief executive officer [i.e., himself] to execute the American Rescue Plan Act contract template with subrecipients in accordance with the board of supervisors-approved Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Spending Plan.
In the staff report for Agenda Item 33, Hernandez wrote that he, in his capacity “as the director of emergency services, has determined that emergency conditions no longer exist and therefore continuation of the emergency proclamation pertaining to and for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is no longer needed.”
On the staff report for Item 34, Hernandez called upon the board to “proclaim a local emergency within San Bernardino County” impacting the emergency medical services system.
Hernandez wrote that the system was under “strain,” and extended to paramedic staffing and the ability to purchase both new and more ambulances as the result of delayed training programs and supply chain disruptions.

Leave a Reply