- Written by Administrator at InlandPolitics
I never thought I would actually see the day when a sitting sheriff would expose themselves as San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon has.
McMahon, and several of his command staff, systematically went after former Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Bauer over his use of leave time to care for his ill mother.
A benefit guaranteed Bauer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Eventually Bauer was unlawfully terminated.
After battling to obtain assistance from his union, the San Bernardino County Safety Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA), Bauer found help by way of the Upland-based law firm Lackie, Dammier, McGill & Ethier.
Bauer’s attorney’s put together a damning case against the county, and the department. A case, filed in U.S. District Court, that illustrated just how far the sheriff’s department, and the county itself, will go to target anyone falling out of grace.
The Sheriff’s Department is a large organization requiring a strong leader, and disciplined chain of command. Based upon what was revealed in the Bauer case, it’s something that’s woefully lacking here.
To illustrate, here’s an expert witness report, prepared for the civil trial: Final Bauer Report
A potentially-lethal political blow was struck against McMahon and company in, believe it or not, a simple Civil Service Commission hearing. The proceeding in the Bauer matter, held before an administrative hearing officer, examined evidence and heared testimomy under oath. A key issue here.
I can’t recall in my 23 years in local politics seeing an incumbent vulnerable to attacks, accusing him or her of lying under oath, and being oblivious as to what’s going on in their own operation.
A couple of the county-wide elected offices have become more like a “It’s party time!” position. Meaning the task of the office has degenerated down to traveling, skirting chasing and boozing it up!
McMahon, who has to run in his first political election next June, is a public figure under the law. A legal distinction granting him very little protection in the area of defamation and slander. But, in the instant case, there’s no deflecting or combating the truth.
Furthermore, McMahon really comes across more like a cowboy shooting from the hip, than a politico. But, unlike predecessor’s Gary Penrod and Rod Hoops, McMahon now finds himself publicly caught up in the weeds.
If any, and I mean any, challenger with even modest credentials runs against McMahon, it won’t take much funding to hammer home a few choice pieces of campaign literature calling him dishonest. An indefensible accusation that will hurt. Especially when you combine it with the million dollars county supervisors paid to Bauer!
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, in general, is a fine organization, when in comes to its rank and file members serving and protecting the community.
But these shenanigans, which spread through the department like wild fire, fall on management, and McMahon has no one to blame but himself, and those he chose to advise him.
Maybe it’s time he ought to consider some serious housecleaning.