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Monthly Archives: February 2016
County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux has been elected as a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration, where he will join a long list of national dignitaries including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Attorney General Dick Thornburg, former Cabinet Secretary Donna Shalala, and former Sen. Richard Lugar.
Chartered by Congress, the academy is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization established in 1967 to assist local, state, and federal government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations.
“This is a great honor and a great opportunity for the entire County organization,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Our CEO being recognized as one of the country’s top local leaders shows the strength and resilience of San Bernardino County.”
Mr. Devereaux was nominated to the fellowship by Academy Board of Directors member and retired long-time Southern California Association of Governments Executive Director Mark Pisano.
The academy includes more than 800 fellows, among them former cabinet officers, members of Congress, governors, mayors, and state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators.
The academy helps government agencies address their critical management challenges through in-depth studies and analyses, advisory services and technical assistance, congressional testimony, forums and conferences, and online stakeholder engagement.
The National Academy is the latest of several boards that have tapped into Mr. Devereaux’s expertise in local government management. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the graduate programs in planning at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC. He is also chair of the advisory board for the Department of Public Administration, California State University, San Bernardino, and is the visiting resident at the West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Public Administration.
Mr. Devereaux is a past member of the advisory committee for the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure at USC. In 2014, he was a presenter at the Ethics and Governance Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy. In 2009, Mr. Devereaux was appointed by the League of California Cities to the California Air Resources Board to the Regional Targets Advisory Committee, which advises the California Air Resources Board, on greenhouse gas reduction under SB 375. And he is a Past President of the California Redevelopment Association and has served on multiple California League of Cities committees.
In 2015, Mr. Devereaux became the 59th recipient of the Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government from the Southern California Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. In 2014, Mr. Devereaux received the Southern California Association of Governments President’s Award for Public Service Leader of the Year. He was also the recipient of the American Society for Public Administration Inland Empire Chapter’s 2008 Outstanding Senior Administrator Award and the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter’s 2007 Good Government Award.
In 2005 Mr. Devereaux received the James S. Thalman Memorial Public Services Award from the League of California Cities Inland Empire Division, and in 2000 was named “Management Leader of the Year” by the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Riverside.
The horrific terrorist attack on Dec. 2, 2015 in San Bernardino that took the lives of 14 people and wounded 22 others led to an unprecedented governmental emergency response by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
Today, Board Chairman James Ramos and Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford shared their experiences during the workshop “Emergency Management Continuum: Lessons Learned for Elected Officials in Response and Recovery” at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood attended the discussion.
The supervisors participated to help other elected and public officials prepare for emergencies in case they are ever impacted by a similar crisis in their own communities. The workshop discussion ranged from how to seek emergency state and federal funding to providing support to employees throughout a crisis.
“Counties try to be prepared to respond to various types of natural emergencies. However these days we are also tasked with being prepared for active shooter situations like the one we went through on Dec. 2,” Ramos said. “Having the ability to share the lessons learned from what worked to what didn’t is critical to minimize lives lost.”
“First, we had to take steps to ensure our County employees were safe,” Ramos said. “We also utilized the Military Surplus 1033 Program which helped provide the County with helicopter capabilities to transport injured victims from the scene to local hospitals. Monies from the Sheriff Department’s asset seizures were also used to purchase the armored vehicles that were used to help search for the assailants on that day.”
Rutherford emphasized the importance of documenting everything that occurs during an emergency, especially when seeking reimbursement from the state and federal government. She also talked about how important it was to give employees time to grieve and rest following a tragedy.
“Little things like having your employees’ current emergency contact information can make a big difference in a crisis situation like we faced on Dec. 2,” Rutherford said. “We have learned a lot since that horrible day. It was a privilege to share our experiences and lessons learned with our fellow county representatives today.”
“Our County received an outpouring of support from around the world after Dec. 2 and we feel an obligation to share what we learned with others if it can save lives and help others in the future,” Lovingood said.
Recent media reports have suggested that technicians in the county of San Bernardino independently conducted analysis and took steps to reset the iCloud account password associated with the iPhone 5C that was recovered during a federal search following the attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 people and wounded 22 others on December 2, 2015. This is not true. FBI investigators worked cooperatively with the county of San Bernardino in order to exploit crucial data contained in the iCloud account associated with a county-issued iPhone that was assigned to the suspected terror suspect, Syed Rizwan Farook.
Since the iPhone 5C was locked when investigators seized it during the lawful search on December 3rd, a logical next step was to obtain access to iCloud backups for the phone in order to obtain evidence related to the investigation in the days following the attack. The FBI worked with San Bernardino County to reset the iCloud password on December 6th, as the county owned the account and was able to reset the password in order to provide immediate access to the iCloud backup data. The reset of the iCloud account password does not impact Apple’s ability to assist with the the court order under the All Writs Act.
The last iCloud data backup of the iPhone 5C was 10/19 and, based on other evidence, investigators know that Syed Rizwan Farook had been using the phone after 10/19. It is unknown whether an additional iCloud backup of the phone after that date — if one had been technically possible — would have yielded any data.
Through previous testing, we know that direct data extraction from an iOS device often provides more data than an iCloud backup contains. Even if the password had not been changed and Apple could have turned on the auto-backup and loaded it to the cloud, there might be information on the phone that would not be accessible without Apple’s assistance as required by the All Writs Act order, since the iCloud backup does not contain everything on an iPhone. As the government’s pleadings state, the government’s objective was, and still is, to extract as much evidence as possible from the phone.
The Board of Supervisors today unanimously appointed Oscar Valdez to fill the remainder of Larry Walker’s term as the County’s Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector. Mr. Walker plans to retire on March 5.
“We believe the County is very fortunate to have someone with Mr. Valdez’s talent, experience, and knowledge of our County organization available to assume this great task at this time,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.
The voter-approved County Charter states the only option for filling the remainder of Mr. Walker’s term was an appointment by the Board of Supervisors. Chairman Ramos and Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood were appointed by the Board of Supervisors to review applications for the position and make a recommendation to the Board. Seventeen people submitted applications for the appointment, nine of whom met the state-established minimum requirements for the position.
Chairman Ramos and Vice Chairman Lovingood opted to interview five of the nine based on their executive-level experience managing finances and investments for large public- and private-sector organizations.
“The Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector is responsible for essentially all of the County’s financial and investment functions, so it is important that we have a seamless transition,” Chairman Ramos said, noting that Mr. Valdez was the only current County employee who applied for the appointment.
“Oscar Valdez not only meets and exceeds all of the qualifications for the position, but he has been Mr. Walker’s number-two person for almost five years, and is the only applicant who knows the position as well as Mr. Walker does,” Chairman Ramos said.
“The Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector is in the midst of several important projects, chief among them the replacement of the County’s aging financial accounting system. It is vital to the County that these projects proceed without interruption. Mr. Valdez is the only applicant who is familiar with these projects,” Chairman Ramos said.
Mr. Valdez came to work for the County in February 2000 and has served as Assistant Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector since May 2011. He previously worked as a senior auditor and supervisor in the private sector, and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army.
The Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector is responsible for the investment of all County and School District funds within the County investment pool and associated banking services. The pool has assets of about $5 billion. The department also performs the accounting, reporting, and claims of all County financial activities to ensure sound financial management.
This department is also responsible for vendor payments, payroll services, the compilation of property tax rates, and revenue disbursements to taxing agencies
The department has a budget of nearly $40 million and 315 employees.
Do you feel that your lender may have discriminated against you? Do you want to know more about discriminatory tactics used by lenders? Would you like a lawyer to review your loan for discriminatory practices?
The Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board is holding a discriminatory lending prevention workshop on Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon at 1500 S. Haven Avenue in Ontario.
The workshop highlights:
- Discriminatory lending practices defined
- Types of predatory lending explained
- Applicable federal and state laws reviewed
- Homeownership responsibilities discussed
Space is limited. Please RSVP with Christopher Schmidt by Feb. 23 (800) 321-0911 Ext. 102.
County residents and other community stakeholders will play a key role in developing the first-of-its-kind Countywide Plan, which will be used by the Board of Supervisors to evaluate development projects, establish County priorities, and make budgetary decisions for years to come.
“This is a historic and pivotal moment for San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Some counties and cities have made their general plans more comprehensive than before, but no one has set out to create anything like the Countywide Plan, which will address and improve all areas of life in all of our great and diverse communities.”
During the past six months, the County initiated work on the plan and conducted a pilot outreach effort in Bloomington. The majority of outreach will take place this year as the County conducts events and meetings throughout the county nearly every month. Additional outreach will take place during 2017 and 2018.
The Countywide Plan outreach program will build upon the previous five years of public engagement conducted through the Countywide Vision, Community Vital Signs Initiative, and Renewable Energy and Conservation Element. Thousands of residents, all 24 cities and towns, and hundreds of stakeholders from local, regional, state, and federal agencies and organizations participated in those engagement efforts.
Public input will be sought at both the community and countywide level through workshops, meetings, events, and through the project’s website, www.countywideplan.com, where a timeline of the outreach schedule will be maintained.
The new Countywide Plan website serves as a key component of the public participation and engagement process for updating the Countywide Plan and Community Plans.
The site serves as a 24-hour resource for the public to provide input and access background information, public meeting schedules, and copies of relevant documents, presentations and other meeting materials. Draft documents and other work products will be added to the website as they become available. Visitors to the site will be able to take surveys, and submit comments and photos for use in the Countywide Plan. The public can use the website to sign up for email or text notifications to stay up-to-date on project-related news.
Also, beginning next month, the County will publish the Countywide Connection, an electronic newsletter specific to the Countywide Plan project. The Countywide Connection will provide timely information about progress on the project, meeting announcements, how residents can be heard during the planning process, and links to the latest project surveys, documents, and resources.
The first issue of the Countywide Connection will focus on an overview of the Countywide Plan, provide an update of major project components, and highlight public outreach events for Community Plans. Three more newsletters are anticipated to be released over the duration of the project to provide updates to the community of key milestones and achievements of the process. Countywide Connection will be available at www.countywideplan.com, on CountyWire at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/cao/countywire/, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/countywideplan/. Residents will also be able to subscribe to Countywide Connection and have it emailed to them.
The Community Plans component of the Countywide Plan effort will generate customized action plans for recognized communities in unincorporated areas. Outreach to various community areas will begin in the spring and be conducted in multiple phases throughout this year and 2017.
Workshops for the first 11 communities are planned for February, March, and July at locations within each community. Specific workshop locations, dates, and times are available on the page of the Countywide Plan website dedicated to Community Plans: www.countywideplan.com/cp.
The workshops will focus on identifying and prioritizing what each community values, explore what each community wants for its future, and identify specific actions to implement community goals and objectives. Ultimately, the County is seeking to partner with the public to prioritize how County resources should be utilized for each community and how the community can participate in the creation of its own future.
Those who are unable to attend the workshops will be able to participate by exploring workshop materials online and taking online surveys on the website.
Although there are no reported cases in San Bernardino County, the Department of Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health Services, the Communicable Disease Section and Public Health Laboratory are working together to make sure any suspected Zika cases are investigated and tested appropriately.
“Even though no immediate threat to county residents exists, I would like to remind county residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquito bites, especially if traveling to Zika-affected countries.” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer. A health alert issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with a list of affected countries can be found on the CDC webpage at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/ .
The six confirmed cases of Zika virus in California were acquired in other countries. The Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that can transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes are not native to California, but have been identified in 12 California counties. In San Bernardino County they were found in October of 2015, but the risk of transmission in California is still low.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDC have also issued a guidance for pregnant women recommending they avoid travel to Zika-affected countries. Pregnant women who cannot avoid travel to these countries should talk to their health care provider and take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
Most people infected with Zika virus will not develop symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they are usually mild and include fever, joint pain, rash and eye redness. If you have returned from an affected country and have these symptoms within two weeks, or any other symptoms following your return; please contact your medical provider and tell the doctor where you have traveled. While there is no specific treatment for the Zika virus disease, the best recommendations are supportive care, rest, fluids and fever relief.
Residents can still take precautions to avoid breeding areas around their homes by following these tips.
- Drain or Dump – Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, old tires, pet watering dishes, buckets, or even clogged gutters.
- Clean and scrub any container with stored water to remove possible eggs.
- Dress – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts whenever you are outdoors to avoid mosquito bites.
- DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, PICARDIN, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Doors – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.
If you notice these small black and white mosquitoes in or around your home, please contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, DEHS MVCP at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at http://goo.gl/gdl2dt or the CDPH website at http://bit.ly/1u35fQx .
Responding to service calls throughout San Bernardino County’s vast 20,000 square miles is a challenge when it comes to maintaining County buildings. A mechanical or air conditioning failure in one building in a remote location could take hours of staff time and gallons of fuel to travel to different sites.
To make the County and its buildings more sustainable and energy efficient, Facilities Management along with the County’s Project Management Division and Information Services Department teamed up with Siemens Building Automation Systems to automate and improve our systems.
First, old systems were upgraded to the latest in technology and then the Siemens Building Automation System was connected to the County’s network to keep costs down. Building automation, lighting, power, and water treatment equipment from different manufacturers were integrated and could be controlled off-site with iPads and other solutions. As a result, there has been a significant savings for taxpayers.
In the first two years:
- More than $150,000 in energy and natural gas savings through more efficient operations
- $53,460 in lowered payroll costs by reducing overtime hours by 1,320
- $18,480 in savings through a reduction in fuel consumption of 2,933 gallons
- Total savings of $222,120 were realized, which dramatically improved customer service
The County is also minimizing its impact on the environment by driving less. Over two years, field technicians traveled 26,400 fewer miles, resulting in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
To read more about this example of Government Works, click here.