LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A Board of Supervisors discussion on a proposed no confidence vote on the county’s sheriff has been postponed.
The board had tentatively scheduled a discussion on whether or not to take the vote regarding Sheriff Frank Rivero during its meeting next Tuesday, July 10.
However, on Tuesday Board Chair Rob Brown – who called for the vote – said he’s postponing the action.
Rivero – now 19 months into his term – said that he considered it “unfortunate” that the hearing was postponed, as he was looking forward to confronting Brown “with the truth, before the public, in a televised event.”
Explaining why he postponed the matter, Brown said, “I don’t want this to be wrongfully perceived as in any way related to the claims the sheriff has made against the county.”
Specifically, Rivero has a suit against the board – scheduled to be heard later this month – for voting in March to refuse his request to hire an outside attorney.
Rivero – who maintains that a conflict of interest with the County Counsel’s Office exists –
argued that California Government Code guarantees him the right to legal representation in a matter involving District Attorney Don Anderson.
Anderson conducted an inquiry into allegations that Rivero lied during a February 2008 investigation into an incident in which Rivero – then a deputy sheriff – shot his sidearm at a man with pepper spray.
According to documents Lake County News obtained from the county through a Public Records Act request, Anderson is considering giving Rivero a “Brady letter,” meaning Rivero would not be able to testify in court due to concerns about his truthfulness.
In addition, in 2009 Rivero filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that sheriff’s office staff discriminated against him because of race and retaliated against him for making allegations of harassment.
That claim was discussed by the board in several closed sessions in 2009 – the last one in June of that year – according to board meeting records.
On March 6, after nearly three years, the claim reappeared on the board’s closed session, following several weeks of discussion by the board on Rivero’s request for legal representation. At that same meeting, the board would vote down Rivero’s request to hire the outside attorney.
The EEOC claim also is on the board’s July 10 agenda, once again slated for closed session.
The no confidence vote proposal arose during the board’s June 26 meeting.
Brown asked for the action as a result of contract negotiations with the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
He alleged that Rivero made public statements that nearly derailed the long-running negotiations.
Brown also accused Rivero of being responsible for a “mountain of lawsuits,” for driving away employees and for not showing up to do his job.
The question about Rivero’s absence hasn’t been raised just by Brown.
Earlier in that same meeting, Supervisor Jeff Smith pressed sheriff’s administrative staff on the sheriff’s whereabouts, noting that he hadn’t seen him in some time.
Ultimately, Brown’s colleagues on the board asked for the no confidence discussion to come back as its own separate agenda item. The board then voted unanimously to approve a new memorandum of understanding with the deputies’ union.
Rivero called the matter an “ambush” and accused Brown of lying about his performance and record as sheriff, alleging that Brown has “a series of mixed motives all inspired by hatred, resent, and retaliation.”
Brown said Tuesday that he was concerned about reports he had that Rivero was planning to bring command staff to the meeting to vouch for whether he has been at work. He said he didn’t want them to be forced to choose between covering for Rivero or losing their jobs.
Rivero called that allegation “a concocted lie,” stating that he has a professional command staff, “none of whom would engage in any activity of the sort.”
As for where Rivero has been over the last few months – with supervisors and county administrative staff noting they’ve rarely seen him – there were reports that he was attending Empire College School of Law in Santa Rosa.
Lake County News contacted the school, which confirmed his presence. The school later called back to say that it “could neither confirm nor deny” Rivero was taking classes there.
In response to Lake County News’ inquiry as to whether or not he was indeed taking law classes, Rivero responded, “Regarding if and where I am attending school, that is frankly none of your concern.”
Email Elizabeth Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
written by MountainBreeze, July 03, 2012