It may have been an auspicious sign when Fujioka hired Dijkstra to be the new Chied Deputy of County Animal Services. Will Mayeda be going soon?
It also demonstrates three things: 1. Villaraigosa is a bigger jerk than the Supervisors when it comes to getting rid of a non-performing Gneral Manager; 2. It helps to sue the City/County to get actions; 3. Winograd can really help when it comes to getting rid of a malfunctioning head.
From the Daily News today:
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/05/2008 06:02:45 AM PDT
Los Angeles County officials are investigating allegations that the county's animal-care director obstructed justice by instructing some employees to delete e-mails during an audit by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, county Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka said Monday.
Fujioka said he asked the County Counsel's Office to review the allegations after meeting recently with an animal-rights activist who blogs about alleged abuses of animals at county shelters.
Blog operator Ryan Olshan produced an e-mail dated Oct. 4, 2007, and purportedly written by Department of Animal Care & Control Director Marcia Mayeda, Fujioka said.
The e-mail instructs four employees to delete e-mails while the county was under investigation for not complying with euthanasia recordkeeping practices.
"The e-mail appears to be accurate," Fujioka said. "Right now, we have asked the County Counsel's Office to investigate the matter and to let me know if it constitutes any violation of the law. We are hoping to have a response from the County Counsel's Office within the next week."
The e-mail, provided to the Daily News by Olshan, appears to have been sent by Mayeda and says: "... I agree that everyone did an outstanding job on this matter! However, we do not need a paper trail on this. Everyone, please delete these emails from your computers and empty the trash files. Thanks!"
Mayeda said Monday that she could not comment until the County Counsel's Office completes its review.
DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen said federal investigators conducted a regulatory audit of Mayeda's agency and found that it was basically in compliance.
But Pullen said the DEA was not aware of allegations that Mayeda had allegedly ordered e-mails deleted in connection with the audit.
"Typically, during a routine audit, we won't look at e-mails being deleted," Pullen said. "If there is something else going on that may warrant a different investigation, we'd have to look at a variety of factors.
"If it looks like something criminal was going on, that would require a different type of investigation."
But court documents in one of three lawsuits against the county over alleged abusive treatment of animals at the shelters raise questions about whether the department tampered with records in last year's death of a 10-month-old puppy at the Carson animal shelter.
The documents also allege that Mayeda ordered e-mails to be deleted.
"For example, plaintiffs are aware of at least one October 2007 email from Marcia Mayeda to Josie Zabala, among others, in which Ms. Mayeda specifically directs Dr. Zabala and other DACC employees copied on the email to delete emails from their computers and empty the trash files," attorney Melissa Bonfiglio wrote in the March 26 court document.
In an April 18 court document, fellow attorney Orly Degani wrote that the DEA was investigating the department's improper use of euthanasia drugs.
The firm filed the lawsuit in December on behalf of the national No Kill Advocacy Center, alleging unlawful and abusive treatment of thousands of dogs and cats at the county's six shelters.
The lawsuit also alleges that the county misclassified animals as "ill" or "injured" to kill them before the holding period ended and killed lost animals without making reasonable attempts to find the animals' owners.
Among the other allegations: The county is improperly killing animals before the mandated holding period has expired; failing to provide adequate veterinary care to the animals as required by law; failing to scan animals for microchips so owners can be given an opportunity to go to the shelter and pick up their animal; and not providing adequate care to the animals in the sense of having clean water, keeping them in comfortable temperatures, making sure their kennels are clean and that they are properly cared for while impounded.
County Counsel Ray Fortner did not return calls for comment.
The lawsuit followed protests over 2007's puppy death in which the animal reportedly had frozen.
The county Board of Supervisors ordered an investigation and in February, Fujioka and Mayeda wrote that the puppy had became ill with a respiratory infection, missed a couple of doses of antibiotics during a "temporary veterinary medical staffing shortage" and later died.
Mayeda said the Board of Supervisors has allocated more than $20 million in the past two years to modernize shelter facilities and hire more veterinarians, nurses and staff.
Mayeda said the department operates the largest animal-care and -control operation in the nation, taking in nearly 90,000 animals a year at shelters in Agoura Hills, Lancaster, Castaic, Carson, Downey and Baldwin Park.
Mayeda said the county works with more than 100 animal-rescue organizations and many individuals who are passionate about saving animals.
"I've spent my whole life working with animals," Mayeda said. "My bachelor's degree is in animal science and my master's degree is in nonprofit administration. I've pretty much dedicated my whole life to this work. I think some people, in their heart, are very sad about the status of animals in society, which I understand and agree with.
"But they don't have the benefit of having worked in an animal shelter and seeing the hardworking people doing their very best with very limited resources to make as many improvements as they can."
We all know that Boks could throw a rattlesnake into Chick's car and the Mayor would applaud and give Boks another honor.
Mr. Boks, there is still the outstanding Request for Public Records about the alleged cover up and corruption in your own department, involving an LAAS employee and Pierce College.
I wonder if Anderson would be interested in that story?