It’s been another tumultuous week at the Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. Ryan Drabek, who was only recently brought in as Deputy Director, tendered his resignation – and although we don’t know his reasons, we suspect Drabek did not enjoy toiling under the agency’s tainted autocratic head, Marcia Mayeda.
Drabek’s replacement is the affable and capable Danny Ubario. Ubario had done an admirable job reforming the Downey Shelter before being sent to Baldwin Park to clean up the mess that was created by Mayeda’s unfortunate hire, former Baldwin Park shelter manager Pat “Google Me” Claerbout. In his short tenure at Baldwin Park, Ubario managed to re-socialize the shelter’s battle-scarred staff, restore relationships with rescue partners and improve volunteer morale. With his sensibility and consensus building style, Ubario’s promotion is certainly a breath of fresh air at the fetid DACC headquarters.
Replacing Ubario at Baldwin is Lancaster’s current shelter manager, Sherry Koenig. The timing of Koenig’s move is interesting, because rumors are that she is being investigated by the County Equity Investigations Unit, the agency responsible for investigating reports of potential violations of County Policy or of either Federal or State law. The Equity investigations department has rarely been turned loose on the DACC, but Marcia Mayeda’s constant thwarting of internal affairs investigations conducted by the DACC’s own Human Resources Department left the Board of Supervisors no choice but to outsource the investigation to an independent body free from her meddling. Amongst the employees currently rumored to be under investigation are Claerbout, Koenig and Deputy Director Derek Brown.
Speaking of the DACC’s Human Resource Department, its hatchet man, David Hou, has quit and has, ironically, taken a job with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. This is the court where the Devitt case is scheduled for trial. The plaintiffs allege that Mayeda and her agency negligently failed to impound a pack of marauding dogs which later fatally mauled jogger Pamela DeVitt, The plaintiffs also allege that Mayeda and her minions engaged in a deliberate cover-up through a series of backdated notes and fraudulent entries into the DACC’s tracking software, attempting to frame the dogs’ owner, Alex Jackson, for murder and hide their own negligence in order to avoid paying a large settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit. Speculation is that if Mr. Hou chooses to reveal the corruption he was ordered to ignore the Board of Supervisors would have no choice but to immediately fire Marcia Mayeda and several of her cronies, including certain members of the Board of Supervisors.
Meanwhile Raul Rodriguez, Lancaster’s Lieutenant, has been given the position of Lancaster Shelter Manager.
One can only wonder how much longer Marcia Mayeda can steer the sinking ship that is the DACC. We used to question her integrity but not her brains. Given the turbulent seas she is trying to navigate and the possibility of criminal charges, her decision not to abandon ship and get out while she can makes us question our original evaluation of her intelligence.
We also hope that once the smoke clears – the last person left standing at the D.A.C.C. remembers to turn off the lights.