I was going to write this last night as an Examiner article but I was too tired. I also decided this is just too personal.
I want to start by saying to all my friends in the county, I am so sorry about what has happened. I’m sorry you have to go through this. I don’t think I personally know anyone that was killed but I know many of my friends do. I also know many of them know some of those injured. I think many of us knew this sort of thing would happen eventually, but I will leave that for another article. For now, just know that a lot of people are praying for you.
After an exhausting day on Tuesday, I was laying down when I received the Twitter message about the shooting at Inland Regional Center. I can’t even remember where it came from but not even the news stations had picked up the story yet. At first I wasn’t even sure it was our regional center.
Soon thereafter the news stations started picking up the story. I don’t have TV out here but found Channel 7’s live feed on my phone and eventually my laptop. I was getting very frustrated because I knew a lot of their information was inaccurate.
I started texting, im’ing, Tweeting, and Facebooking with various friends and contacts who work for the county. In some cases I knew their offices were very, very close to the regional center yet they were still at work, business as usual. My frustration continued. Eventually I received emails and Twitter feed that District Attorney Mike Ramos had ordered his facility locked down. Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren had done the same. Yet my friends and contacts just blocks from the shooting were still at work.
By late afternoon it seemed most county employees had been sent home, which was good and appropriate, but long overdue. I had a scathing story written in my head ready to go but I needed proof.
I asked a couple of friends if they had received any kind of email from Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux. I was provided with four emails.
As it turns out, Devereaux, via Angelica, sent an email at 12:05 p.m., less than an hour after the incident began, advising elected officials, top management, and department heads to stay in their buildings and not go outside. So why were some county offices close to the shooting site still operating business as usual almost two hours later?
Reports are that at least two elected officials and one or more department heads did not think their employees’ safety or that of the public was particularly important. And those heads should roll promptly, especially in the case of any department head that did not order a lock down immediately. Elected officials can do what they want to a point but it is the BOS and CEO that is ultimately responsible for the employees, the public, and the buildings. This should have been a no-brainer.
It is absolute dereliction of duty for these individuals to do what they did. It does not matter that no harm came about from their inaction. There are protocols in place to protect individuals and county assets. It may not have been costly this time around, but next time could be a different story.
Most large county buildings these days have sophisticated surveillance and security systems in place that include badging or security codes to get to secure areas. County employees are put through disaster drills on a regular basis. They at least have a fighting chance when disaster occurs to get to a safe place. The public does not.
So even if Larry Walker, Bob Dutton, Nancy Swanson, and others, don’t give a flying shit about the safety of the employees who make their asses look good day in and day out, they should at least have some respect and concern for the members of the public who pay their salaries. These idiots could have opened the county up to a heck of a lot of liability with their cavalier approach to county employee safety.
On the other hand, I have to say that from what I can tell, CEO Greg Devereaux, the BOS, Sheriff John McMahon and District Attorney Mike Ramos acted within protocol and activated the county’s emergency operation plan as it should be. Kudos to them for not putting employees or the public at any greater risk than the madman and his wife did yesterday.
As a side note, many years ago when I worked for Facilities Management, Jim Ogden and I wrote and prepared the county’s Building Emergency Services handbook. We went around the county and provided training as well. Since that time, communication and security is far more sophisticated in the county, or at least it should be, but basic actions to secure a facility, account for employees, and remove the public are still the same and necessary in any disaster. For certain managers to just thumb their noses at such protocols should lead to termination or early retirement. Walker and Dutton should be publicly admonished.
County officials try to claim I am a “disgruntled county employee.” Anyone who knows me, knows there isn’t anything further from the truth. I loved working for the county, except those last few years at TAD. And the only reason I hated working for TAD was the incompetence of Nancy Swanson and Linda Haugan.
I don’t hate the county or county employees. I am a big supporter of both. I hate corruption, corrupt department heads, corrupt electeds, and corrupt administrators. I hate those who try to claim they have the county’s best interest at heart when, in reality, the only interest they have is their own.
County employees are the county’s biggest asset. They should be protected. I am grateful at least three members of the board of supervisors agree and decided to shut down much of the county today and tomorrow. It is the first time in a long time where they showed they value their employees.
And finally, two Supervisors—Chairman James Ramos and Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman—provided updates via Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. I’m glad they did not hide behind anyone this time around. Kudos to both of them.