OC Probation Chief AWOL

colleenepreciadoColleene Preciado, Orange County’s Chief Probation Officer, fired off an email to her staff on Friday evening in another demonstration of the misinformation campaign being launched by County executive managers regarding the current budget crisis.

Hu·bris: Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance.

Her message (full text here) begins with an eloquent demonstration of her own hubris. “Recently, I noted some new information has been circulating in the media with regard to our midyear operational and workforce reduction plan.  Of those communication pieces that came to my attention, I found some misinformation I wanted to clear up so you are not getting mixed messages about what we are doing.  I want you to be assured you are getting the facts and not exaggerations, falsehoods or otherwise.  As probation employees we are trained to give the facts and not embellish to create a bias one way or the other.” She then goes on to exaggerate, embellish, and out-right lie.

Preciado claimed that “Managers (including executive managers) will not be receiving a raise.” False! County managers have not given up their raises. Nick Berardino, OCEA’s General Manager answered her claim in an email today (full text here) stating; “The managers haven’t given up their 2% MIP, they only deferred it. Yes, deferred!  In addition, she failed to point out that the managers are scheduled to receive a wage increase of 3% in June 2009!”

Preciado further states; “Manager positions will be eliminated along with non-manager positions as we have previously indicated.   The workforce reductions we are making will equal 10.3% of our manager positions and 3.2% of non-manager positions.”

Berardino points out what she leaves out and/or embellishes. “The Department refused to consider any of the cost-saving options OCEA has presented, including removing one of the recently promoted Deputy Chief positions.  Would that not save staff positions and programs?  Up until April of 2008, the Department was able to function with three Deputy Chiefs.  The Chief now argues that due to “operational needs” the Department cannot operate with anything less than four (4) Deputy Chiefs!  Furthermore, why does the Department need seven (7!) Assistant Division Directors in Juvenile Hall? Why does the Department continue to need the same number of Institutional Directors/Assistants when they just eliminated 92 juvenile beds?”

Preciado continues; “During the bankruptcy, I was a director at juvenile hall. We pulled together as a department to find ways to trim costs in every way possible.  We worked together for solutions.” Berardino responded with an additional fact that could not more clearly demonstrate the hubris of Preciado, and County executive management, in this time of budget crisis.

“The Chief indicated she remembers that during the bankruptcy “We pulled together as a department…….to find ways to trim costs in every way possible.” Why won’t the Department do that now? The Department and the Chief have not discussed ANY alternatives to layoffs. The Department came to tell OCEA of what the Department intended to do…No discussions, no engagement, no collaboration, and no “pulling together”!  We have provided the County and Department suggestions to “trim” costs including those mentioned above. We have also suggested they do the RIGHT THING and give up some of their perks, including car allowances, to save jobs. We have heard nothing but resounding silence to all of OCEA’s suggestions.” 

But most telling of all was this final tidbit of information from Berardino.

“The Chief is very involved with several committees across the County and State – maybe that would explain why the Chief could not find the time to attend the final budget meeting with OCEA.  Again, it is all about priorities.”

  6 comments for “OC Probation Chief AWOL

  1. Keep da Peace
    February 4, 2009 at 6:58 am

    There was a time when probation employees believed there was a new day in the probation department. When the current chief was promoted, most employees hoped the old days of the good ol' boys and promotions by kissing up were gone. She did pretty well the first few years. It looked like there would be more openness, more opportunity for promotion and fewer witchhunts. This chief brought new light to the internal affairs investigations and it seemed like the employees were going to be treated fairly and with respect.

    That all went down the tubes when she brazenly created a new deputy chief position and promoted a long time (but worthless) friend into the position for the sole purpose of spiking her pension. This department got along fine with three chief deputies for years. All of a sudden, the department now needed a fourth chief? One chief's sole duties is the administration of juvenile hall. There are 2 directors and 7 assistant directors. Why? 10 years ago, the population was higher than it is now and the hall ran fine with 4 assistant directors.

    The chief has lied to her people from the beginning. Claiming that they are reducing management by 10.2%, she forgets to tell you that, in the past 10 years, she and her predecessors increased management by 21% while staff has only increased by 6.5% or so and the supervised population has not increased at all. She lied about how management is not taking their raise this year. They agreed to defer it. I can guarantee you that they will all take their raise eventually and they will be paid from the day it was first agreed upon, meaning they will not give up anything. The chief will be laughing all the way to the bank with her $4500 OPB and her $765 a month that pays for her Corvette along with the paid for retirement that her employees she is so thankful for have to pay on their own. The managers walk around juvenile hall laughing their heads off at the staff because they know the truth.

    What about it chief? Fire that lazy slob you promoted so that she could get on the gravy train. You still have time to regain some of your lost credibility. Maybe you could at least tell your employees what could possibly be more important than sitting down across from the table and telling the people who truly represent your employees and who really have their best interests at heart why you don't have the guts to face them? Could it be because you don't care?

  2. Anonymous
    February 4, 2009 at 7:25 am

    This is the same department that while in the midst of layoffs is making staff attend MANDATORY staff meetings on their day off for overtime. What a joke.

    • February 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm

      That must be because working overtime for a staff meeting must fall within the guidelines of the new OT policies. Or, they could go back to what they now do for training by adjusting your work schedule to avoid OT.

  3. D. Kerns
    February 5, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I'm not sure people in the county really care about what happens in the probation dept. What your chief is doing is what most company heads are doing. Screwing the workforce while lining the pockets of themselves and friends.

  4. B.S
    February 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Keepdapeace, She as other Chiefs does not care about the line staff….PERIOD! her attitude is they are exspendable and the least of her worries! As in previous ADMIN'S it's a good ole boy/girl attitude and they will reap the benefit on the backs of hard working line staff. There's an old saying "trust in your troops" and she has abandoned them.

  5. February 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Reality check: Content of the comment notwithstanding, B.S is not me. I always post and comment under my full name.

Comments are closed.