San Bernardino County Swamp: Political supporter gifted “make-work” $56 per hour county job
A member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors that was embroiled in a scandal involving Syrian refugees appears to once again wasting taxpayer dollars by rewarding a political supporter with a cushy employment gig at the county.
It is our understanding that Supervisor Robert Lovingood directed interim-CEO Dena Smith to hire Ryan McEachron to be the “special projects coordinator” for the High Desert Corridor according to a well-placed source. The “make-work” employment contract will pay McEachron more than $56 per hour, plus benefits.
McEachron, a former member of the Victorville City Council, is a long-time political ally of Lovingood having endorsed him against Angela Valles in the 2016 campaign. A few weeks before the election Valles revealed that unvetted Syrian refugees were being secretly dumped in Victorville. She also hammered them on their support for toll lanes.
Neither McEachron nor Lovingood spoke out against the Syrian refugees. In fact, McEachron shamelessly called Valles a liar. Lovingood would go on to eek out a victory over Valles while Lyin’ Ryan would lose in embarrassing fashion – stating in the Daily Press that the Syrian refugee scandal was the reason he lost.
McEachron has already been laying the groundwork for a 2018 city council campaign. Reports are that he has been making calls to supporters and donors. It is further understood that Lovingood has handpicked McEachron to be his successor if he opts to not run for re-election in 2020 or terms out in 2024.
One can't help but wonder if Lovingood is effectively gifting this "job" to McEachron so that he can use the funds to pay for his next city council campaign in 2018.
The entire episode is odd considering McEachron is the owner of an insurance company in the High Desert. When McEachron is running for office he claims to be a successful business owner who will improve government efficiency and accountability. When he loses an election he claims that “he’ll renew [his] focus on his insurance business.”
Now, the employment contract calls for him to earn $56.64 per hour with a total salary value of $60,378 plus another $38,000 in benefits. Additionally, the contract expires the week of the June primary election where he can then “renew his focus” on pursuing his political career. Tell me how McEachron is going to run his insurance business while at the same time working a quasi-full-time job at the county?
And tell me how and why the owner of his own insurance business needs the taxpayers to foot the bill for his health care costs? Why should the taxpayers be on the hook for $38,000 in benefits?
To my knowledge there wasn’t a recruitment process for this position. So, how did anyone determine that toll-lane loving McEachron was the best choice to fill this position?
This hire follows Lovingood’s 2016 hiring of career politician Fred Aguiar to join his campaign staff. Aguiar is a political mover and shaker who had donated money to Lovingood’s campaign. It was widely understood that Aguiar was being hired to help Lovingood raise money and support for his re-election campaign.
CEO Dena Smith’s decision to hire Ryan McEachron reeks of cronyism on the part of Lovingood and needs to be investigated.
The public has a right to know if there was a recruitment process and whether or not Lovingood pressured Smith into this arrangement so that he could reward a political supporter.
You are encouraged to call each member of the board and ask them to pull this item from the consent calendar and discuss it out in the open. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting on Tuesday, September 26 and speak out on this political corruption.
You can find their phone numbers below:
Supervisor Robert Lovingood - (909) 387.4830
Supervisor Janice Rutherford - (909) 387.4833
Supervisor James Ramos - (909) 387.4855
Supervisor Curt Hagman - (909) 387.4866
Supervisor Josie Gonzales - (909) 387.4565