Last week at the regular meeting of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, activists finally had a chance to weigh in on the county’s handling of the arrest and conviction of its human resources director, Andrew Lamberto, for soliciting an undercover law enforcement officer for an act of prostitution. Activists called for the dismissal of Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux due to his handling of the personnel matter that ultimately ended with the board having to buy Lamberto’s resignation.
Lamberto was arrested last March and notified Devereaux. He was convicted in August and again notified Devereaux. Rather than Devereaux letting the Board of Supervisors know of the arrest and conviction so that they could weigh in on the situation, Devereaux swept it under the rug.
Lamberto served as third in command of the county and often acted on behalf and spoke on behalf of the board of supervisors. The arrest was especially embarrassing to the board as they fund strong anti-human-trafficking measures in the county.
Board members often tout the county’s transparency and lack of criminal activity. They found out about the Lamberto issue, not from Devereaux, but from iePolitics.com, a local blog that leaked the story. Board members were left red-faced to say the least but tried to contain the story. However, the story took on a life of its own and was covered regularly by major mainstream media outlets throughout California for nearly two weeks.
At issue is a non-interference clause enacted by the board of supervisors in 2010 at Devereaux’s insistence that does not allow them to deal with day-to-day issues in running the county. If effect, when they approved the ordinance, they transferred the power bestowed upon them by state law and the county’s charter to an unelected bureaucrat who answers to no one.
Activists want Devereaux terminated despite the clause. Their calls for such an action at last week’s board meeting were met by silence. Board members would not even look at activists as they addressed the board.
Devereaux negotiated an airtight contract that requires a four-fifths vote to terminate him, which is in violation of the county code and charter. So far, supervisors have only made him publicly apologize for his actions with no other apparent discipline despite costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars and a great deal of embarrassment.
Activists plan to continue their fight to have the board terminate him. They are being joined by several labor unions. Thus far, only Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales has expressed any outrage over the actions of Devereaux. Only she has suggested further action may be taken.