San Bernardino Wins Bidding War With Upland To Lure Goodman To Head Its PD

San Bernardino has lured Upland Police Chief Darren Goodman to serve as the head of its department, reportedly on the basis of a total annual compensation package exceeding half of a million dollars.
In coming to San Bernardino, Goodman will become the first Black police chief in the county seat’s history, the same distinction he achieved in Upland when he left the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department with which he was serving as the commander in the rank of captain at the Chino Hills station in 2018 to become the City of Gracious Living’s top cop. San Bernardino will be his third tour as a city police chief, as the sheriff’s department serves under contract with Chino Hills as its police department, and Goodman was thereby the de facto police chief there.
A usually reliable source told the Sentinel that San Bernardino and Upland found themselves in a bidding war over Goodman that went on for more than two months. San Bernardino set its sights on Goodman in large measure because it perceived hiring him as a cure to long ongoing issues relating to policing in what was ranked in 2019 as the United States’ third most dangerous city, with a murder/homicide rate of 22.48 per 100,000 population in 2018. With a population that is 65.2% Hispanic percent Latino, 14.3 percent Black, 4 percent Asian and roughly 16 percent non-Hispanic white, San Bernardino has a police department with 262 police officers, some 60 percent of whom are white. This has led to a degree of friction with a sizable contingent of the city’s residents.
There are warring gangs within the city limits, hailing from both the east and west side of the 62.45-square mile, 222,101-population city. As an African-American with a PhD., Goodman is considered to have sufficient credibility with the minority population and the mental agility to run a department patrolling a city faced with severe social challenges. San Bernardino has the highest homeless population among the county’s cities. Even among those who are housed, 14.5 percent live below the federally-defined poverty line.
Goodman’s departure from Upland, which will occur on May 28 so that he can assume the San Bernardino job on June 1, comes after the City of Gracious Living invested heavily in him in more ways than one to prevent his departure after it was learned two years ago that he was the last finalist to be eliminated in the competition for the job of Riverside police chief. Upland upped his salary to what is now $231,771.97, his add-on pay to $13,002.20, his benefits to $66,614.05 and the contribution toward his pension to $99,886.86 for a total annual compensation of $411,275.08. That generated resentment in then-Upland City Manager Rosemary Hoerning, who, despite being higher on the city’s organizational and authority chart than Goodman, at that time was provided with a total annual compensation below his. This contretemps manifested in Hoerning, in June 2020, suspending Goodman over a complaint lodged against him by his one-time but subsequently demoted executive assistant. The city council moved rapidly to rescind that suspension and subsequently cashiered Hoerning.
To reassure Goodman about the degree to which the city valued him, the council, in seeking out and hiring Hoerning’s ultimate replacement, brought in Michael Blay, who served with Goodman in the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department during the early stages of their law enforcement careers. Blay left the sheriff’s department in 2009 and moved into private security work. In March 2016, Nils Bentsen, who had served in the sheriff’s department with Blay and Goodman and later became station commander/police chief in the City of Hesperia prior to that city hiring him as its city manager, recruited Blay to serve as Hesperia’s development services director. In 2018, Bentsen convinced the Hesperia City Council to allow him to promote Blay to assistant city manager. Last year, despite more than two dozen of the 38 applicants for the city manager post having more extensive and impressive municipal management credentials and résumés than Blay’s, the Upland City Council chose to hire him based upon his friendship with Goodman, Goodman’s endorsement of him, the prospect that the two would work well together and the belief that having Blay in place as city manager would ensure Goodman’s longevity in the Upland police chief’s position.
While the general public did not learn about Goodman jumping ship to San Bernardino until this week, which left many with the impression that Goodman had blindsided Upland officials with his disclosure to them of his planned departure, the Sentinel is informed that Goodman quietly informed Blay and the city’s politicos about his having been approached by San Bernardino’s headhunters and the offer to extend him the police chief’s job there. According to one individual close to Goodman, he offered to remain in Upland, which is more distant from his Riverside home than San Bernardino, if Upland would match San Bernardino’s salary and benefit package. Upland did so, the Sentinel is told. Thereupon, San Bernardino upped its offer to Goodman, followed again by Upland’s chief negotiator, said to be Upland Mayor Bill Velto, saying the City of Gracious Living would again increase the police chief’s pay and benefits. San Bernardino again went Upland one better. Upland, in response, offered a slightly better deal.  After San Bernardino met and raised that ante, the Sentinel is told, Goodman’s value had hit half of a million dollars in total annual compensation. Upland, concerned that if it were to put itself in the position of paying Goodman that much money it would need to make a corresponding increase to Blay’s salary and benefits, dropped out of the Goodman sweepstakes.
-Mark Gutglueck

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