The unprecedented events leading to the dismissal of Pat “Google Me” Claerbout as Baldwin Park’s shelter manager should leave the management team at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) quaking in their boots. For the first time in recent history, the taxpayers of Los Angeles County and the employees of its shelter system woke up the slumbering Board of Supervisors and forced them to pay attention to the mismanagement of the DACC. A clear message was delivered to DACC head Marcia Mayeda that the rampant misconduct fostered, if not outright encouraged by her regime will no longer be tolerated.
Claerbout has been reassigned to a desk job in Norwalk, or DACC Siberia, where she will have no contact with pets, while she awaits the completion of an investigation into her actions being conducted by the Los Angeles County government’s Human Resources Department. It is significant that Claerbout is being investigated by the County’s HR department rather than by the DACC’s internal HR staff as it shows the Board of Supervisor’s lack of faith in the agency’s ability to not be manipulated and corrupted by Marcia Mayeda.
Besides bringing joy to everyone who works and volunteers at Baldwin Park, Claerbout’s removal has caused the DACC to shuffle its leadership. Danny Ubario, who has done an outstanding job since taking over Downey, has been appointed Baldwin Park Shelter manager and his capable Lieutenant, Maria Rosales has taken over the Downey shelter manager position. Both are technically on temporary assignment in their new positions due to county rules dictating that until Claerbout is formally fired, she will on paper keep the job description of Baldwin Park manager and collect the position’s salary– – despite having being relieved of her command. Gayle Miley, Claerbout’s abusive number two (who briefly managed Baldwin Park on an interim basis), has submitted her thirty days notice and will be retiring from the DACC. Pending her retirement Miley has been assigned to DACC’s headquarters in Long Beach.
It is our fervent hope that the Board of Supervisors remain awake and aware and continue to pay attention to the demands of its taxpayers and DACC employees. The widespread cancer of corruption that permeates the DACC leadership has not been cured by Claerbout’s removal. Marcia Mayeda was certainly aware of Claerbout’s history of being dismissed for cause at her previous jobs in Stockton and Sacramento yet she hired her. Mayeda’s lies to the Board of Supervisors have heretofore gone unchallenged by the Board. Her misconduct – which has left the County vulnerable to a potential multi-million dollar verdict in the case of DeVitt vs. the County of Los Angeles and Marcia Mayeda – is both shocking and perverse.
If the Board of Supervisors was surprised by the anger that motivated over 75 percent of Baldwin Park’s staff to risk retaliation by signing a petition demanding Pat Claerbout’s removal they will be even more startled if 90 percent of the DACC employees take Baldwin Park’s lead and make their opinions known by signing a petition demanding that Marcia Mayeda be immediately terminated.
It is time for the Board of Supervisors to listen to employees and citizens. Marcia Mayeda needs to be held accountable for her reign of error and fired. Anything less than Mayeda’s departure is going to eventually blow up in the Board’s face and cause the taxpayers to pay with their wallets and the pets entrusted to the DACC’s care to pay with their lives.