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You Know I'm Right | Commentary by Betty Arenson
| Friday, Jan 8, 2016

bettyarensonJerry Powers is the name, and departing as a well-paid public employee with a titanic cloud over his head and huge financial compensation is the game.

It’s the same-old, same-old for taxpayers.

The L.A. County probation chief’s musical chair is incapable of being filled by a long-term, efficient body, regardless of the cost to taxpayers.

Jerry Powers was the third to emerge in about five years.

For a few, the L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News and Witness LA published articles on Powers and the department.

Powers had held a similar position in Stanislaus California with a far smaller scope of responsibility. It’s mind-boggling as to why L.A. County’s former chief executive officer, Bill Fujioka, insisted on Powers receiving more money than the last departing guy — about 12 percent, totaling nearly $400,000 plus $25,000 in relocation fees.

Powers’ prior experience was overseeing a $25 million budget, 255 employees and 7,900 adult and juvenile offenders.

jerrypowerspressHis L. A. job demanded overseeing a $716 million budget (in 2011), swelling to a budget in excess of $860 million in 2014-15; 6,200 employees and 79,000 offenders.

Powers took on the job to “steady a department racked by employee misbehavior, favoritism and mismanagement.” He proceeded with boldness.

He said in a video: “There appears to be a small fraction of our workforce that doesn’t feel that honesty is an essential trait of being a peace officer or working for a law enforcement agency. … We’ve had too many instances where staff have (sic) filed fraudulent reports. They’ve been dishonest in reporting whether it’s use of force, time card fraud, workman’s comp issues.

“Please understand that honesty is at the core of what we do. If we’re not seen as an honest agency, if we’re not seen as an honest officer, we can’t do the job that we’re required to do to keep these communities safe and the citizens safe.”

In November 2012, Powers issued an “Honesty Directive.” One significant point was: “The mission of the Probation Department can only be carried out with the expectation of honesty from all employees at all levels.” Witness LA wrote: “in essence, that lying and stealing would not be tolerated.”

Powers was touted for hiring “some fresh, new people at the top of his command staff” and enhanced his muscle with “permission from the Board of Supervisors to hire some more Internal Affairs investigators and lawyers, to make sure that allegations of staff misconduct are investigated quickly and efficiently.”

In late 2013, Powers hired Kym Renner, whom he knew from Stanislaus County, to be his “close aide.” She was quickly promoted to be the department’s top budget and personnel official, irrespective of having no related experience. She would oversee a $820 million budget while receiving nearly $200,000 in annual compensation.

Renner drew negative attention from county auditors when, among other things, they found $10 million the county should have recovered from the state. Renner recently told the L.A. Times she was looking into it while “no action has been taken.”

Circumstances led to an investigation of a boss-mistress setting, and taxpayers paid extra for this – a law firm, outside of the county.

The L.A. Times sugar-coated the charges as “inappropriate relationship and making an improper promotion.” As is the norm, no mention of taxpayer money being siphoned and pocketed.

Questioning and closed-door meetings ensued, with Powers denying any lascivious actions; then he said his personal business is just that, while the L.A. Times claims to have copies of Powers’ credit card receipts for flowers with accompanying love notes from him to Renner along with a trip to Mexico.

Was it a county-issued credit card that taxpayers must have paid? That is not revealed.

In December 2015, Powers “resigned,” all behind closed doors, of course. He exercised the usual screw-the-taxpayer contract that entitles him to six months’ salary irrespective of the reasons for leaving.

The exit package was $147,125.88 plus an additional “goodbye gift” of $147,125.88.

The newly appointed L.A. County counsel, Mary Wickman, claims the minutia dirt cannot be revealed because Powers is classified as a “peace officer.” “He has a right to privacy over that. … (He) is a peace officer, so he has a heightened right to privacy, actually.”

Jessica Levinson , a Loyola law professor and president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, disagrees, saying: “The supervisors may have been reticent to disclose because it’s unpopular to give money to a person who leaves under a cloud of suspicion. … It seems like a nice little goodbye gift.”

In summary, yet another hoax is cast upon taxpayers who endure another failure with no consequences. Powers will enjoy his massive compensation (there is a question as to how the “departure” was styled; therefore his money might be non-taxable) until he’s hired elsewhere on another public teat for his “expertise.”

Proving once again: From this sect of charlatanry, when the exposure presents, we taxpayers get the I-didn’t-do-it, then the resignation with a huge pay-off to the malfeasant.

Kym Renner is still has her highly compensated job.

 

 

Betty Arenson has lived in the SCV since 1968 and describes herself as a conservative who’s concerned about progressives’ politics and their impacts on the country, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She says she is unashamed to own a gun or a Bible, couldn’t care less about the color of the president’s skin, and demands that he uphold his oath to protect and follow the Constitution of the United States in its entirety.

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7 Comments

  1. K.Patey says:

    We received an email from Kym Renner this week and she is leaving the Probation Dept. as of the 15th and moving on to another LA County job.

  2. Cezar Yque Lovely Dee Clarence Johnson Nuvee Castro Holguin

  3. Betty Arenson says:

    “K. Patey may as well have signed in as “anonymous” What does “we received an email from Kym Renner and she is leaving the Probation Dept. as of the 15th and moving on to another LA County job”. Who is “we” and is K.Patey also a county employee—what department? Renner going to another “county job” sure solves the problem doesn’t it? Not! Please tell us that as the head of personnel under Powers she will not be in a position to use that experience to hire Powers back into the fold. This is just one more firm example of government musical chairs–and the pay and attendant compensations are GREAT!.

  4. K.Patey says:

    Sorry about that Betty. Why do you have to be so nasty about who I am and who “we” are? “We” are county probation staff and I am a probation officer. Just thought you would like that little bit of information that “we” had just received. I believe she went to DCFS (Dept. of Child and Family Services). Many of us (probation) are not happy about Mr. Powers over compensation either and also with the whole situation with Ms. Renner.

  5. Max says:

    She should be fired for lying. she denied the relationship over and over – even to superiors and investigator and yet she gets rewarded by being moved to same or similar paid position in the same county that she screwed taxpayers? Why does LA tolerate such corrupted at will employees to continue to siphon $$$ when they can be fired. Thus the reason they are At-WILL. As for the CEO and Board oF supervisors who approve these two scums to lie, cheat and gods know what else they did on the clock – the voters should demand a new board and CEO!

  6. Manny Cervantes says:

    The county seldom fire employees at the top or near the top of departments. If you ask why they will cite some general “civil service” rules. So they take the easy way out: transfer the employee to another department where they may do little to earn their already-too-high salary. When the the dust settles the employee may find their way back to the original department, especially if they have a close relationship like marriage with another employee. Trust me when I say nepotism runs rampant at the county and promotions to the $90K Plus range are tossed around freely like flower petals at a wedding to their favorite employees. Complain and they will throw the Employee Handbook at you and you will NEVER move forward, NEVER.

  7. Kymmie says:

    Hard to believe that an agency that exists to protect children and families would put someone with such low morals and values in such a high ranking position. Wonder if her current supervisor is a male? If so, let’s see how quickly Renner moves through the ranks with this agency, despite her ineptness and poor work ethic, to include atrocious attendance.

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