Monthly Archives: September 2015

It’s time for Marcia Mayeda to either resign or be fired as head of the DACC

One of Marcia Mayeda’s many failures as head of the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control has been her inability to supervise, motivate and discipline her employees.

For many years she had only one Chief Deputy, and this particular employee developed a reputation for claiming every Tuesday that he was going to leave the DACC’s Long Beach headquarters to visit the Carson Shelter. Somehow he rarely managed to arrive at Carson, and ironically his car was spotted parked in a driveway in nearby Inglewood. Coincidentally the aforementioned driveway was attached to the house in which the Deputy resided. On Wednesdays the same Deputy claimed he was going to the remote Lancaster shelter. Evidently traffic between Long Beach and Lancaster was very heavy and the Deputy never arrived.

Another big problem has been sexual harassment.   Seemingly several male employees had thought “harass” was two words, and have inappropriately touched female officers. One Senior Sergeant was recently transferred from Baldwin Park to Downey because of repeated allegations of sexual misconduct. Several female employees at both shelters are concerned that this is merely a case of Mayeda kicking the can down the road, and there are concerns that this particular employee will still be in contact with women.

Another employee at Lancaster has trashed three county vehicles, left a dog locked in his truck with no air conditioning for 8 hours in 110 degree heat and is the one who clumsily backdated notes in Chameleon, the shelter system’s tracking program, stating that he had responded several times to Alex Jackson’s address, prior to Jackson’s dogs fatally mauling jogger Pamela DeVitt. According to Jackson, the officer never visited his property – and it was a part of Mayeda’s poorly conceived attempt to cover-up both her and her agency’s complicity in Ms. DeVitt’s death. However even if we accept that the notes were entered accurately and several months late – it was a clear violation of DACC policy – and the employee is still on the payroll.

The vast majority of DACC employees are hard working, underpaid and fundamentally decent people. However Mayeda’s unique ability to overlook major transgressions of certain employees while relentlessly carrying unjustified vendettas against good ones like Lieutenant Eillen Hill, former kennel attendant Erika Valles, and former Officer Fernando Perez-Garcia from Baldwin Park, calls her leadership ability into serious question – and that is before taking into consideration her reckless hiring of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout – who managed to live down to her reputation and bring disrepute onto the entire DACC during her brief tenure

Ms. Mayeda needs to clean house – and the first person who should be swept out the door is herself.

Mike Antonovich’s legacy destroyed by Marcia Mayeda & Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

Under the failed leadership of Marcia Mayeda the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) frequently acts so ineptly that one wonders if they have any written regulations which they are supposed to adhere to. Surprisingly enough the DACC has an “Administrative Policy and Procedure” manual – and its Police Number HR 131 states

…disciplinary action is appropriate when the following occurs: The failure of an employee to perform his/her assigned duties as to meet fully explicitly stated or implied standards of performance may constitute adequate ground for discharge, reduction or suspension. Where appropriate, such grounds may include, but are not limited to, qualitative as well as quantitative elements of performance, such as failure to exercise sound judgment, failure to report information accurately and completely, failure to deal with the public, and failure to make productive use of human, financial and other assigned resources. Grounds for discharge, reduction or suspension may also include any behavior or pattern of behavior which negatively affects an employee’s productivity, or which is unbecoming a county employee or any behavior or condition which impairs an employee’s qualification for his or her position or for continues county employment.

Allegedly after Marcia Mayeda began leaving early from work several years ago, claiming she was suffering from vertigo, she was observed riding her American Shire horse. Horseback riding is not on the American Medical Association’s recommended therapies for people suffering from vertigo. If true, this would fall constitute a pattern of behavior which negatively affects an employee’s productivity and would be grounds for dismissal.
For the last two years there have been a spate of emergency calls that were not responded to because there were not enough employees on duty. Both animals and people have been hurt by the DACC’s failure to respond. At this writing there are seven staff positions that are unfilled, including four field officers. Allegedly Mayeda has been receiving a bonus for failing to fill these positions. This certainly would fall under the category of failure to use sound judgment and would be grounds for her dismissal.

Four days after jogger Pamela DeVitt was killed by a pack of marauding dogs in Littlerock Mayeda was called in front of the Board of Supervisors to testify.  According to Mayeda:

We received two reports about these dogs, one in January of this year and one in April of this year. We responded to the January report. We did not locate any of the dogs that had been reported. The owner was cited for violations of animal control ordinances regarding rabies vaccination, licensing, spay and neuter and microchip.

Mayeda was never asked by the Board of Supervisors to explain how the DACC could issue tickets for these dogs if they were never seen. A reasonable person would think that Mayeda failed to report information accurately and completely – which is again another reason for her to be discharged.
Mayeda’s hiring of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout, would certainly fall under failure to again use sound judgment. Mayeda’s attempt to fire Lt. Eileen Hill for pointing out Mayeda’s policies breaking California and Federal Law, certainly would violate her duty to meet fully explicitly stated or implied standards of performance. The list goes on and on… yet for some inexplicable reason Marcia Mayeda still is taking home $238,000 a year plus benefits from the gravy train provided by Los Angeles County taxpayers.

Why? The reason Marcia Mayeda still has a job despite his colossal failure as both a human being and a leader of the DACC, is she is being protected by the Board of Supervisors. Evidence in the ongoing DeVitt case against the DACC and Marcia Mayeda show that Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office knew full well that Mayeda was not telling the complete truth, and that the DACC had routinely failed to respond to complaints about the dogs that eventually killed Ms. DeVitt.

Like Marcia Mayeda, had Mike Antonovich done his job and responded to complaints made to his office prior to the DeVitt mauling, Pamela DeVitt would be alive today. Mayeda’s continued employment as head of the DACC despite all her misdeeds is entirely offensive, and if Mike Antonovich and the Board of Supervisors do not act to ameliorate the situation by removing their failed department head, it would not be unreasonable for the DeVitt family to add Mr. Antonovich as a co-defendant in their lawsuit, Benjamin Devitt, Tad DeVitt, and April DeVitt, vs Count of Los Angeles (Cola), Cola Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) Marcia Mayeda and Does 1 through 10.

It would be a shame, but totally understandable, if after 35 years as a County Supervisor, Antonovich’s legacy was that he was just another corrupt, venal and unethical politician whose refusal to investigate his handpicked deputy for corruption, caused Pamela DeVitt to die.

Baldwin Park and Downey Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help!

When the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) fails to respond to an emergency call or follow up on an investigation, they reflexively cite lack of staffing as the justification for their failure to adequately protect Los Angeles County’s citizens and their pets. Several times in the past when the shelters have killed pets despite having plenty of empty kennels, shelter managers have claimed that they did not have sufficient staff to operate their shelters at full capacity. What makes this so galling and offensive is the revelation that Marcia Mayeda, the $238,000 a year civil servant running the DACC, has been earning bonuses for keeping her headcount low.   There are plenty of unfilled staff positions that Mayeda has routinely refused to fill so she could earn extra money – which she probably used to try and teflon coat her body since nothing ever seems to stick to the feckless bureaucrat. Not only have cats and dogs been dying, but it has been alleged in a lawsuit that jogger Pamela DeVitt was killed because Mayeda cares less about her duty to keep the community safe and adoptable pets alive than she does about how much money she can personally siphon from Los Angeles County taxpayers’ wallets.

Meanwhile at Baldwin Park there are 192 dog kennels and most kennels used for small dogs are shared by three or four pets. Baldwin Park’s canine population was under 190 dogs earlier in the week, yet new Baldwin Park Shelter manager Sherri Koenig ordered her staff to kill dogs despite a plethora of empty kennels. One of those killed was a dog that one of Baldwin Park’s veterinarians wanted to spend his own money to operate on and then place into foster care so the pet could recover and be adopted. Several Baldwin Park staff members were nervously calling this reporter to complain, wondering why after two months of tranquility and progress under Danny Ubario’s leadership, Marcia Mayeda had allowed the shelter to apparently backslide back to the bad old days of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. As more than one Baldwin Park staffer angrily stated, “The only justifiable reasons to kill are for irremediable suffering, dangerous behaviour and space – and very few of the dogs we killed fit into any of these categories.”

The news was no less disturbing at the Downey Shelter where a gorgeous eight month old plush coat German Shepherd puppy vanished into thin air one evening last week from the Downey Shelter. Strangely many other purebred puppies who could easily be sold for more than the shelter would charge the public to adopt, have disappeared late at night from Downey and coincidentally it has always been when the same employee was the only person on duty. Rumors of drug use and debts surround this particular employee – yet he still has a job.

Finally in a rare bit of good news, Baldwin Park Lieutenant Eileen Hill was ordered back to work last Thursday after Marcia Mayeda and her vassal, Pat Claerbout, conspired to try and have the hard working and uncompromisingly honest Lieutenant fired for a series of trumped up charges, when the real reason for her being in hot water was her having pointed out the DACC’s violation of California and OSHA regulations.   We cannot wonder if our mentioning Lieutenant Hill’s being paid her full salary for the last six months while being wrongfully disciplined had anything to do with her reinstatement or if it had to do with possible overdue impending discipline being meted out to a senior Baldwin employee who has routinely been misappropriating donations and harassing female staff and thereby leaving Baldwin Park rudderless, but either way Marcia Mayeda’s headcount is up one person at Baldwin Park – for now…

 

 

 

Downey & Baldwin Park Shelter Pets Urgently Need Your Help

On June 13th the Downey Shelter staged a hugely successful “Sleepover at the Shelter” event which produced nearly 100 adoptions. One of these lucky pets was a three year old husky named Larry who was adopted by the Spanish speaking Zavala family from East Los Angeles.   The Zavalas filled out all the shelter’s adoption paperwork, including an indemnification clause, releasing the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) of any liability for any behavioral or medical conditions pertaining to their new pet. Larry settled right in to his new home and quickly became a cherished and integral part of their family.

On August 26th, a full 76 days after the adoption,  DACC Officer Omar Pinto called the Zavalas to notify them that Larry had previously been involved in a dog fight and had killed another dog.   Pinto told Ms. Zavala that he was coming by to pick up Larry so he could take him back to Downey and kill him, and offered a consolation prize – a free replacement dog of their choice in exchange.   Ms. Zavala was horrified and contacted Sleepover at the Shelter’s sponsors to see if they could intervene and stop the DACC from killing Larry.

A letter was written on the Zavala’s behalf, and it drew an immediate phone response from Pinto. When faced with an English rather than Spanish speaker, Pinto was more respectful but no less hopeless.   Pinto denied that he had ever said he was going to seize and kill Larry, but then in his next sentence stated if the Zavalas refused to surrender their dog that he would conduct a Potentially Dangerous Dog (PDD) hearing and after receiving a verdict would then come, seize and kill the dog.

Everyone involved with the DACC knows that PDD hearings are kangaroo courts, staffed entirely by senior DACC employees beholden to Marcia Mayeda.  Several ex-DACC officials have confided that Mayeda tells them exactly how they are to rule, and that any failure to toe her line would be costly to their careers – and several current and active employees have revealed that they try to avoid these kangaroo courts by using the same strategies a member of the public might use in escaping jury duty!   If Larry is subject to a PDD hearing his fate is as good as sealed.

When asked why it took 76 days for the DACC to notice that they had adopted a potentially dangerous dog into a family’s home, Pinto explained that the DACC is severely undermanned and behind in their investigations.

The conversation ended without resolution. However many questions linger.

The DACC and Mayeda are being sued for allowing a pack of potentially dogs to kill Pamela DeVitt. How could Mayeda’s agency knowingly have placed another family at risk by placing an alleged ‘dangerous’ dog into their home for 76 days?

Equally importantly, how can a public safety department like the DACC be so understaffed? The answer is that Marcia Mayeda has so poorly managed her budget that numerous positions are unfilled. Mayeda has suspended numerous DACC employees who she wants to fire, but due to civil service regulations must retain until long and protracted termination hearings can be held. Currently the manager positions of the Baldwin Park, Downey and Lancaster shelters are technically vacant and being manned by temporary employees.   Also, Baldwin Park’s capable Lieutenant Eileen Hill is being wrongfully persecuted by Mayeda and is on indefinite suspension while Downey and Lancaster’s lieutenants are acting as shelter managers, while their positions are vacant. The list goes on and on.   Meanwhile many capable and qualified employees are in the DACC’s inertia bound Long Beach headquarters performing menial jobs.   Mayeda’s secretary, Paula Blackwell is an animal control officer. Why isn’t she in the field protecting both animals and the public?

Is Larry dangerous? We don’t know any more than the DACC does. The DACC don’t have a single qualified dog behaviorist on staff – so they are unqualified to make any decision.   The critical issue here is not whether Larry is or is not dangerous – it is how the DACC repeatedly can demonstrate how poorly run it is.  Marcia Mayeda has failed to manage her $38,000,000 budget as badly as she has failed to manage her shelters.  For this alone she should be fired or in the time honored tradition of the DACC suspended – and her position should be left vacant to be filled in by an unsullied underling.