Posted in the Rowland Heights Forum
#1 Oct 25, 2013
By Sarah Favot, [email protected],@sara hfavot on Twitter
Posted: 10/25/13, 9:04 PM PDT | Updated: 12 secs ago
IRWINDALE >> The City Council unanimously approved an agreement this week with its insurance provider to impose a number of reforms or risk losing its insurance coverage as a result of claims and lawsuits against the city and pending criminal charges against city officials.
The Performance Improvement Plan, or PIP, was enforced by California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, a municipal self-insurance pool of more than 120 members. JPIA’s Executive Committee voted Sept.  25 to require the city to make a number of changes in order to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, property insurance and general liability insurance coverage.
Bob May, JPIA’s risk management program manager, has said the PIP was implemented due to a series of alleged misconduct and reports of criminal behavior against several of the city’s police officers and criminal public corruption charges that were recently refiled against two city councilmen, a former city councilwoman and a retired finance director.
Settlements for claims against the city have totaled nearly $2  millio n over the past five years, according to JPIA, and about $1.7  mill ion has been spent in workers’ compensation during the same time period.
The council approved the plan Wednesday with no discussion as part of its consent calendar in a 4  to& #8201; 0 vote, according to City Manager John Davidson. Councilman Manuel Garcia was absent.
“We’re going to hold hands and partner through this and take care of some of these issues that have been outlined,” Davidson said in an interview.
He said the city will have the action items completed by the March 2015 deadline.
“I feel very confident in our ability to move forward with our team and our Council and JPIA,” he said.
In a memo to City Council members, Davidson explained if the city does not fulfill the requirements of the PIP, JPIA could drop it from its coverage. The affects of losing its insurance would be costly, he said.
“Should the city’s membership in the insurance pool be cancelled, it will adversely affect the city’s ability to participate in another insurance pool,” Davidson wrote.“The city could acquire insurance directly from insurance carriers, but the cost may be prohibitive with high deductibles. If the city becomes self-insured without belonging to an insurance pool, all claims will have to be paid out of the general fund reserves.”
#2 Oct 25, 2013
The required reforms include:
• Hire a full-time Human Resources manager.
• Submit to JPIA for review and approval any proposed adverse personnel discipline against city employees.
• Notify JPIA of all anticipated internal investigations of employees within 10 days of starting investigations.
• Meet quarterly with JPIA staff to review progress on the PIP.
• Notify JPIA of an complaints that involve allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation or police misconduct. City must submit a plan of action as to how it will respond to complaint, which JPIA will review and approve.
• Council members must take training on council relations and cooperation.
Of JPIA’s 123 members in California, only the city of Cudahy is on a PIP. Calexico, in Imperial County, is in the same situation as Irwindale, where JPIA staff have created a PIP for the city.
In 2010, JPIA dropped the city of Maywood from its coverage. The city failed to implement its PIP, which was imposed as a result of excessive claims filed against the Police Department. After its insurance was dropped, the city laid off nearly all of its employees and contracted with Bell to run city departments.
JPIA, in an August memo from May to the Executive Committee, pointed to a number of “areas of concerns” in the city including:
• 14 internal affairs investigations underway in the Police Department;
• A woman filed a $20 million civil lawsuit against the city after a police officer allegedly assaulted her during a traffic stop;
• Former City Manager Steve Blancarte pleaded guilty in 2011 to misappropriating public funds and paid $20,000 in restitution and fines;
• Charges of embezzlement, conflict of interest and misappropriation of public funds filed against City Councilmen Mark Breceda and Garcia, former City Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez and retired Finance Director Abe De Dios;
• Concern that the City Council is putting pressure on outcomes of internal investigations;
• The resignation of the Human Resource manager in March through a signed separation and settlement agreement after unauthorized contract amendments were approved for three department heads totaling $85,000.
#3 Jan 19, 2015
Now we see how it started always from the top of the food chain. I guess turning a blind eye bit them in the ass big time
Police Chief Dennis B. Smith is resigning as police chief effective May 24, according to an email he sent to City Hall recently.
Smith was sworn in as police chief in June 2011 with a five-year contract that paid him $150,000 a year. He previously was a lieutenant with the Claremont Police Department.
However, under his watch, the Irwindale Police Department has had problems with a number of officers who are under investigation or charged with crimes.
Officer Dennis Alva, 47, has been charged with stealing his 89-year-old father's life savings of $250,000, which was hidden in a garage. Alva pleaded not guilty to the charge last month in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Two other officers are under investigation for alleged criminal sexual incidents.
One officer is accused of a sexual assault on a woman during a traffic stop in October. The officer left the department during the investigation.
Another officer is on paid administrative leave due to charges he had inappropriate relationships with Explorer Scouts.
In 2012, a high ranking officer, Lt. Mario Camacho was named in two lawsuits. A suit filed in federal court in July by Officer Rudy Campos claimed Campos didn't get overtime and got bad performance evaluations after he voted against a contract item Camacho favored.
A suit filed on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles Superior Court claimed Camacho sexually harassed Alma Chavez, a nonsworn police cadet.
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