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After years of sensational and sometimes costly scandals that have kept the county mired in muck, last week the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors was once again found straining to remain disengaged and disassociated from the latest breaking and salacious scandal.

News broke late last week that San Bernardino County Director of Human Resources, Andrew Lamberto, was charged with soliciting prostitution in March.

Although soliciting prostitution is a misdemeanor, critics continue to express concern not only over the egregious nature of the incident but also regarding allegations county officials knew about the incident within a couple of days of its occurrence and chose to maintain a code of silence. To date, it remains unclear as to whether this was an organized and intentional effort to keep county employees and members of the general public in the dark about the occurrence. Maybe it is the county’s scandal ridden history that made critics suspicious of a county cover-up.

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Video: KCAL 9

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In addition to the ongoing Colonies Saga, in recent years San Bernardino County officials have faced allegations of everything from misuse of county time and resources, to charges of nepotism, bribery and/or drug use and the list of alleged improprieties goes on and on. As a result, the act of soliciting for prostitution is just one more example of outrageous behavior by selected members of the area’s leadership.

On Friday, San Bernardino County Public Information Officer David Wert issued a press release that was in essence a formal statement from the county’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux. In addition to serving as official acknowledgement of the incident by county officials, it put the Lamberto affair firmly in the public domain. The statement also appeared aimed at blunting speculation of an intentional cover-up by county officials who may have known about the incident early on.

The statement read in part, “Privacy provisions usually preclude the county from disclosing personnel matters. However, in this instance, everyone involved agreed it is in the public’s best interest to provide a full accounting.”

“Historically,” according to Devereaus, “Disciplinary actions have been handled as purely administrative matters and not brought to the attention of the Board of Supervisors. Therefore, I did not bring this matter to the Board’s attention.”  However, Devereaux also advised, “If the Board was to direct that it be notified about such matters in the future, I will certainly comply with that direction,” he offered.”

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Despite Lamberto’s mea culpa and Devereaux’s progressive discipline some members of the community have called for termination.

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In regards to the Lamberto affair specifically, Devereaux advised non-work-related misdemeanors usually do not result in disciplinary action. “However, given the nature of this incident and Mr. Lamberto’s position in the County organization, I determined that significant discipline should be imposed, and it was,” he shared. In his statement, Devereaux did not expound on the nature of the discipline. But, he did affirm Lamberto now understood, “Even one additional issue involving his conduct, public or private, will result in his immediate dismissal.”

In an exclusive interview with the VOICE, Wert declared the Lamberto’s issue was handled properly in alignment with established county policies and procedures.

In August, Lamberto was sentenced to 10 days of community service, (already completed) and 3 years of unsupervised probation. Lamberto was also required to participate in AIDS education and testing. In addition, he provided a DNA sample in alignment with state law.

Devereaux admitted Lamberto advised him of the incident on March 30, this was immediately following the weekend of the occurrence. Unconfirmed rumors also indicated others in authority at the county knew as well.

Lamberto, who has served as the county’s Director of Human Resources for ten years with stewardship for 400 employees and a $16 million budget said in a public statement, “There is no acceptable excuse for my behavior. What I did was wrong, and I accept full responsibility for my actions. I deeply apologize to the CEO, the Board, my fellow county employees, and the people of San Bernardino County. Public service is a privilege, and I will continue to work hard to earn the confidence of those I am fortunate enough to serve.”

Despite Lamberto’s mea culpa and Devereaux’s progressive discipline some members of the community have called for termination.

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BVN Contributor S.E. Williams

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S.E. Williams

Stephanie E. Williams is an award winning investigative reporter, editor and activist who has contributed to several Inland Empire publications. Williams spent more than thirty years as a middle-manager...