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Air Horn test at 2 p.m. Thursday in San Bernardino/Highland

At 2 p.m. Thursday, Patton State Hospital on East Highland Avenue between North Victoria and North Palm avenues will test four air horns used as an alert system for the large hospital campus. The horns will possibly be heard throughout the San Bernardino and Highland communities. It will only be a test, and there is no cause for alarm.

The test will consist of a 40-second horn blast at 2 p.m. and three 3-second horn blasts at 2:05 p.m.

Board selects County CFO Gary McBride as next County CEO

County Chief Financial Officer Gary McBride, a lifelong San Bernardino County resident who has spent his entire 23-year professional career working his way through the county government organization, earning knowledge and trust along the way, was appointed

today by the Board of Supervisors to serve as the county’s next chief executive officer effective Nov. 25.

Board members praised McBride’s dedication to the county organization and the community, his commitment to innovation in the cause of public service, and his ability to grasp and translate into lay terms complex issues and provide sound, trustworthy advice.

Board members also praised Interim CEO Dena M. Smith for leading the organization during the past seven months since the retirement of former CEO Greg Devereaux. Smith, who plans to retire and was not a candidate for the CEO position, will stay on board to assist in McBride’s transition.

“You don’t get this far in your career without the support of a great family,” McBride, 46, told the board today. “Thank you for the confidence from the board. We have some great things headed our way, a lot of opportunities, and I am excited to share in the future with all five of you.”

The board conducted an exhaustive seven-month recruitment and interview process prior to appointing McBride as CEO. The board conducted more than 34 interviews over the course of 12 meetings with candidates from within county government, other public agencies and the private sector.

“Gary’s integrity, strong financial background and experience with the county made him the stand-out candidate for Chief Executive Officer of San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood. “I have trusted his advice in the past and look forward to working with him as we pursue the opportunities ahead.”

“Gary McBride has provided outstanding leadership and skillful financial management for over four years as Chief Financial Officer for the County of San Bernardino,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Curt Hagman. “I have benefitted from his wise counsel, innovative management style and commitment to accept nothing but the best from himself and all those around him. Gary will make an outstanding CEO and I look forward to working with him and my Board colleagues in making San Bernardino County the best run county government in America.”

“We went through an extensively thorough process of interviewing a number of uniquely qualified individuals,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “It was through each supervisor’s individual path of discovery that my colleagues and I came together to select the individual who would best help us realize our hopes and projects to better serve our residents. It is imperative that we, as a county family, view ourselves as visionaries and a flagship for implementing new ideas. Mr. McBride embodies the kind of talent that exists within our family.”

“Gary is incredibly smart and thoughtful, and he is eager to explore new ideas,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “He has a passion for this organization and a genuine, deep commitment to the County team that will serve him well in this new leadership role.”

“I am confident Mr. McBride, with his abundant wealth of institutional knowledge, will excel our county towards greater heights and into new horizons,” said Third District Supervisor James Ramos. “I proudly join the Board of Supervisors as we wish him great success and look forward to working with him to strengthen our county.”

The chief executive officer is county government’s top non-elected position. The CEO works closely with the Board of Supervisors to develop the board’s goals and objectives and administers and coordinates the operations of county government in accordance with the policies established by the board.

McBride holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, graduating with departmental honors, and a master’s degree in public administration, earning the program’s Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year award, from Cal State San Bernardino. Last year he was named to the university’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Hall of Fame. McBride has also participated in the Leadership Decision Making course offered through Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program.

McBride has guest lectured for Cal State San Bernardino, set up an economics scholarship fund for CSUSB students, serves on the CSUSB Economics Department’s scholarship committee, and serves on the Advisory Board of the CSUSB Department of Public Administration.

McBride began his career with the county in 1994 as a fiscal clerk in Human Services. He was promoted to staff analyst in Public Health in 1996, administrative analyst in the County Administrative Office in 2000, Public Health division chief in 2002, deputy executive officer in the County Administrative Office in 2006, and county chief financial officer in 2013.

As CFO, McBride is responsible for the development of budget recommendations, monitoring and forecasting the county’s $5.2 billion annual budget as well as its $1 billion in outstanding debt. In his capacity as CFO he also serves as chairman and board member of a number of oversight and advisory boards and corporations. Under his leadership, the county has received several Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards from the Government Finance Officers Association. Recently, as a result of his work as chairman of the committee set up to restructure the county’s retirement savings plan, the county received a national award for the comprehensive restructuring of its savings plan.

McBride served on the founding board of the Animals Are First Fund, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting animal care and control and animal rescue groups throughout the county.

He also serves as treasurer of the Los Angeles Region of Destination Imagination, a nonprofit organization that conducts an annual international problem-solving and critical thinking competition with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.  He is also the assistant manager of his son’s Destination Imagination team, which has won the world championship tournament, conducted at the University of Tennessee, in three of the past five years against competition from around the world.

County wins 4 awards from California State Association of Counties

Filling gaps in services for homeless people, addressing illegal dumping, creating a virtual receptionist program and managing mutual aid during the December 2, 2015 terrorist attack were four of the innovative programs and services recognized this month with Challenge and Merit Awards by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

“These awards demonstrate the county has great people who are doing a commendable job of addressing the community’s highest priorities,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood.

Each year, CSAC honors best practices in county governments in California. This year, CSAC received a record number of entries – 288 from counties around the state.

Last year, the County of San Bernardino received four CSAC awards and won three in 2015 and 2014, five in 2013, three in 2012, two in 2011 and one in 2010.

In the Health and Human Services category, San Bernardino County received a prestigious Challenge Award for its Housing Support Program Collaborative, which fills in gaps in services available to homeless families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The Transitional Assistance Department (TAD) along with the Department of Behavioral Health, Housing Authority and Knowledge and Education for Your Success (KEYS) joined together to help families overcome homelessness. Since the collaborative began in 2015, 644 families have been permanently housed.

In the Health And Human Services category, the Department of Public Health won a Merit Award for Mutual Aid for a Public Health Emergency, which helped to rebuild the Division of Environmental Health Services when resources were limited following the San Bernardino terrorist attack on Dec. 2, 2015. Expertise from environmental health departments throughout California contributed to rebuilding the division and training programs were built into the mutual aid response.

In the Government Finance, Administration and Technology category, the Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) won a Merit Award for the Virtual Receptionist program, which was implemented at the (DEHS) High Desert location in Hesperia to improve staff efficiency and lower wait times for customers.

In the Housing, Land Use and Infrastructure category, San Bernardino County Code Enforcement won a Merit Award for its Illegal Dumping program, which uses inmate crews to help abate illegal dumping to prevent blight and save taxpayer money.

San Bernardino County is consistently one of the nation’s most-honored counties in terms of state and national awards for innovative and cost-saving public service. During the past eight years the county has won more than 250 awards from CSAC and the National Association of Counties for ground-breaking programs and services.

County launches new EZ Online Permitting system

The County of San Bernardino is making it more convenient for homeowners and professional builders to submit, track, and monitor projects through the new EZ Online Permitting system, a web-based portal that can be accessed from home, office or mobile device.


Homeowners and builders taking on a new roofing project, installing a new patio cover, swimming pool, or water heater can use EZ Online Permitting to submit an application for the necessary permits.

EZ Online Permitting allows users to submit applications, pay fees and upload plans all in one place. Applicants can monitor the progress and cost of projects in real time from anywhere the internet can be accessed.

EZ Online Permitting provides the public with improved access and transparency in the land development and building permitting process.

Visit to begin using this new tool.  Applicants will find several how-to videos to help learn the system. Customers who are unsure about what permit to choose will find an easy-to-use online guide as well as other reference information. Applicants may call the EZOP hotline for assistance at (800) 722-4542.

County wins 40 awards from National Association of Counties

San Bernardino County programs ending veteran homelessness, advancing literacy, and saving citrus trees are among 40 groundbreaking initiatives that won 2017 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The Public Defender and the Department of Behavioral Health also won a Best in Category Achievement Award for the Everyone SWIMS program which addresses the continuing problem of unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration of individuals with psychological distress and mental disorders. Everyone SWIMS stands for Self-sufficient, Well-being, In-house, Mental health services and the program helps increase access to outpatient and crisis stabilization services to the indigent population facing criminal charges.

“The County continues to be a national leader because we are always thinking of new and different ways to improve lives and save taxpayer dollars,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood. “I am proud of our employees for providing top-notch services and professionalism to our county residents.”

Since 2010, San Bernardino County has garnered 242 awards from NACo, an organization that honors innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

The Board of Supervisors will recognize and honor the people and departments responsible for the winning programs and services below at an upcoming public meeting:

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State examines county’s handling of Dec. 2 workers’ comp cases

An investigation by the state into the county’s handling of workers’ compensation cases related to the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino found that treatment denials have been rare, indicates delays have been caused chiefly by doctors failing to submit information needed to approve treatments, and credits the county with establishing a model for dealing with incidents of this nature by hiring nurse case SB Strong Logo 1managers to facilitate treatment requests.

“The Board of Supervisors has shared the frustration expressed by many of the survivors when delays and denials have occurred,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood.

“No workers’ compensation program anywhere in the country has ever been called upon to serve such a large number of seriously injured and traumatized survivors of a terror attack,” Chairman Lovingood said. “This has been unchartered territory for the county, for the doctors, and most certainly for the survivors. But the state’s investigation shows the county has worked hard and effectively to ensure safe, and complete care for the employees injured during this horrific attack. This has been the county’s priority since that fateful day.”

Click here to view the report.

The numbers contained in the report bear out that denials, although frustrating when they occur, were the exception rather than the rule.

There have been a total of 2,146 requests for treatment from health care providers serving the 58 survivors being treated through workers’ compensation. 2,000 of those 2,146 requests for surgeries, prescriptions, physical therapy, counseling, and other medical treatments were approved. Among the 144 treatments that were denied, 68 appeals were filed by 11 employees. Only nine of the denials, representing less than one half of 1 percent of the total number of requests, were overturned on appeal.

Delays are more difficult to define and measure. However, the state’s investigation found a significant number of cases involving “a provider’s failure to provide an adequate clinical rationale or appropriate documentation to justify requests for extended or new prescriptions, extended or alternative therapies, or special equipment that veered away from standard medical treatment guidelines and limits.“

A lack of adequate information would have rendered the county unable to approve a treatment in a timely manner. In some cases, employees complained to the county about not having treatments approved before the county had even received requests from their providers.

“Often because (employees’) doctors had failed to document or fully explain their requests, employees who were still suffering and expected their doctors’ recommendations to be followed were frustrated by the denials,” said George Parisotto, Acting Administrative Director for the state Division of Workers’ Compensation, in a letter accompanying the report.

“The fact that several requests were denied and then authorized upon further review suggests that better communication by providers to the County’s claims administrators and better documentation at the time requests were first submitted might have reduced the number of UR (utilization review) denials and IMR (independent medical review) requests,” the report stated.

The report also pointed out:

–Because the county employees who were injured that day were on the job, “the County’s employees were both entitled and required to seek compensation from the County through California’s workers’ compensation system,” which is designed to prevent employers from interfering in the treatment of injured workers.

–“Workers’ compensation is, by design, very detailed and formulaic in specifying what compensation is due for specific types of injuries.” State fee schedules govern what must be paid for specific treatments. Any deviation has to be justified by the patient’s doctor. This is significant because in some cases treatments were denied because what the doctors wanted to charge far exceeded the state fee schedule.

–“Similar to Medicare and private health insurance plans”, workers’ compensation requires employers to have a utilization review program. “A decision to deny or modify a request can only be made by a licensed physician with expertise in the clinical issues raised,” the report stated.

Board appoints Dena Smith interim CEO, launches recruitment

Dena M. Smith, the County’s Chief Operating Officer, will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer beginning on April 1 while a nationwide recruitment is conducted for a new CEO, the Board of Supervisors unanimously decided in closed session today.

dena-smith-web“The Board has the utmost confidence in Dena’s ability to carry out Board policy and lead the County organization as we conduct our due diligence to ensure we make the best choice for our next CEO,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood. “The Board has directed County Human Resources to hire a recruitment firm and open the recruitment to internal and external candidates.”

Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux, who has served as CEO for seven years, will continue to serve the County in an advisory capacity per the terms of his 10-year contract. Earlier this month Mr. Devereaux announced his decision to retire as CEO and step into the role of advisor.

“I thank the Board and the County for a wonderful opportunity to be here and serve,” Mr. Devereaux said today following the Board’s announcement.

Ms. Smith has been with the County since 1999, serving first as Chief Learning Officer then as Clerk of the Board and Director of Land Use Services. She was promoted to Deputy Executive Officer in 2011 and to Chief Operating Officer last year. As COO, Ms. Smith is the principal assistant to the CEO for operational and administrative issues. She assists in the implementation of policies and directives from the Board of Supervisors and oversees the Government Relations, Legislative Affairs, Public Information and Special Projects Units of the County Administrative Office.

Ms. Smith will be the first African-American and only the second woman to serve the County as its chief executive or chief administrator on an interim or permanent basis.

“The faith placed in me by the Board of Supervisors is truly humbling, and the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of someone as effective and as successful as Greg Devereaux is an honor,” Ms. Smith said. “It will be a pleasure to serve this Board, and to work with and lead the talented, hard-working people that make our County a great organization.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Ms. Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., and then relocated to California, where she earned her master’s degree in psychobiology from UC Irvine.

Ms. Smith has worked for more than 30 years in San Bernardino County. In 1984, she joined the San Bernardino Public Employees Association where she worked for 10 years representing public employees in labor negotiations, grievances and disciplinary appeals. In 1994, she went to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools as the Human Resources Program Manager managing credentials, benefits and training. She also oversaw the establishment and operation of the Educational Resource Centers in Rancho Cucamonga and Apple Valley.

Her various roles with the County have given her valuable experience in various aspects of County Government and in coping with management challenges. She was the first person to hold the titles of Chief Learning Officer and Chief Operating Officer, positions in which she defined new functions for the County.

Devereaux announces retirement as CEO & move into advisory role

After nearly 40 years in public service, 25 of those years in the Inland Empire, Greg Devereaux announced today that he will retire from his role as San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer by the end of the current fiscal year. Mr. Devereaux joined County Government in February 2010 after successful tenures as city manager in Fontana and Ontario.

“I wish to thank the Board of Supervisors, all of the County’s employees and the entire community for the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Mr. Devereaux said. “It has been a great privilege.”

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the transition and Mr. Devereaux’s replacement as CEO in closed session on Tuesday.devereauxgregory-02_5x7-300-2

Under the terms of his contract, Mr. Devereaux will continue to work with the County for the next three years advising the Board and his successor on programs and matters affecting the County. He will also retain and expand his involvement in various academic endeavors and provide consultation to various local and regional government agencies.

“I will probably remain as busy as I am now. But I will have more flexibility than I do as CEO to devote needed attention to my family,” said Mr. Devereaux, who turned 65 this past summer.

The Board hired Mr. Devereaux as County Government faced significant organizational and fiscal challenges. He has worked with the Board to redefine how San Bernardino County government operates, creating practices and processes that emphasize accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility.

“I was hoping to work with Greg throughout my chairmanship,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Lovingood. “Greg’s knowledge and ability to work with the Board to address the County’s challenges will be missed. He is well respected in the local government and business communities.”

“Greg Devereaux is a man of integrity and intelligence who has served the people of this county admirably,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “His fiscal discipline and eagerness to tear down unproductive bureaucratic silos have allowed the county to return to its core functions as well as lead regional conversations about education, the economy and much more. As a Board member, I will miss his daily presence and as a friend, I wish him and his family the very best.”

“Greg’s contacts in Sacramento and Washington and throughout Southern California and his knowledge of government have served the Board and the County well,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Curt Hagman. “Greg played a key role working with me and other local leaders to return Ontario International Airport to local control. As the newest member of the Board, I had been looking forward to working with Greg as CEO throughout my time on the Board. I am glad he will still be available to us in an advisory role.”

“Greg has been a trusted and knowledgeable advisor through the years and he has worked effectively to help the Board of Supervisors achieve its goals,” said Third District Supervisor James Ramos. “During good times and times of difficulty, we have worked together as a team to move forward in San Bernardino County in service to our residents and future generations.”

“When we hired Greg, we wanted to take the County in a new, positive direction. Greg understood what we meant by that and he worked very hard under sometimes difficult circumstances to help us achieve our vision of an ethical, responsive, compassionate, and effective County organization,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “I am committed to ensuring we continue in this positive direction.”

“Since my appointment to Sheriff in 2012, it has been a privilege to work with Greg Devereaux,” said Sheriff John McMahon. “Greg is a strong supporter of public safety and he worked with the Board of Supervisors to increase the Sheriff’s Department’s budget to meet the unique challenges we face daily.  This has allowed us to grow as an organization, renovate existing facilities, acquire a much-needed crime lab and aviation facility. During the December 2 terrorist attack, Greg demonstrated outstanding leadership by ensuring the resources we needed were available to deal with the initial response and the aftermath of the tragic event. I appreciate all of Greg’s support and wish him best of luck in his future endeavors.”

At the time he was hired, Mr. Devereaux became the ninth permanent or interim county chief executive in 12 years. His initial contract called for him to serve for five years, but the Board extended that time and next month he will pass seven years in the role, making him the longest serving county chief executive in more than 20 years.

Read more here.


Plans for December 2 memorial moving forward

SB Strong Logo 1A committee charged with creating a permanent memorial to the victims of the December 2 terrorist attack continues to work toward its goal.

The December 2nd Memorial Committee recently completed a review of several memorials from across the country, noting how, in nearly every instance, the sponsoring agency used a structured process to allow artists, architects and designers to submit proposals. The committee will discuss how to proceed when it reconvenes after the first of the year.

In February, Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos appointed Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales and Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux to assemble and lead a committee to conceive the memorial. The committee consists of representatives from public safety, the departments of Behavioral Health, Public Health and Real Estate Services, the County Administrative Office and, most importantly, representatives from the Environmental Health Services division and family members of the county employees who were taken from us on that day.

The committee has held several meetings to identify key points of consideration and to establish an overall vision for the memorial based on shared values. The committee has determined the memorial should recognize the broad diversity and lives of the victims as well as those who stepped up to preserve and protect life. The memorial will also provide enduring recognition of the county employees who witnessed the attack, many of whom were physically injured and all of whom were emotionally impacted. The committee believes the memorial should be a place for quiet reflection.

The committee is making it a point to put careful consideration into each aspect of the memorial process, understanding that memorials can take up to a decade to develop. As the first anniversary of this tragic event approaches, the committee members want the public to know that work is progressing in a thoughtful and inclusive manner. The process will take time, but the result will appropriately and eternally reflect the many important and unique people, stories, and lessons of December 2, 2015.

County helping Blue Cut victims with asbestos testing and removal

The County is continuing its ongoing effort to reach out and provide assistance to victims of the recent Blue Cut Fire. The county’s latest effort is focused on helping property owners deal with asbestos testing and removal.asbestos-removal-services

Many if not most of the homes and other buildings destroyed or damaged in the fire were built when asbestos was commonly used in many aspects of construction. Asbestos has since been deemed a highly hazardous material, and state law requires that it be collected and disposed of in accordance with specific protocols. Asbestos cannot be dumped in regular trash bins or taken to county landfills.

Testing debris for asbestos and removing it are both costly, and ordinarily these costs would be the sole responsibility of the property owner. There are no standing government programs to assist property owners with the costs of asbestos testing and removal. However, as a special service to victims of the Blue Cut Fire, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has set aside funding to cover the cost of asbestos testing and to assist with the asbestos remediation and demolition process. The county is distributing this informational flyer in both English and Korean to property owners affected by the Blue Cut Fire through the Internet and social media, at the front counters of county and other public agency offices, direct mail, and in-person.

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