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385 N Arrowhead Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92415
Chino Hills District Office:
14010 City Center Drive
Chino Hills, CA 91709
Chief of Staff
Deputy Chief of Staff
Naseem U. Farooqi,
Small Business Liason
December 29, 2010
The County of San Bernardino is an amazingly diverse public service organization that touches and enriches many lives. We provide prenatal care, pediatric care, and preschool services through Head Start. Grade school and high school students study at our libraries and learn at our museum. We intervene when children are abused, and when they are teen-agers we help them find summer jobs. You can get married at the Recorder’s Office, and we can help you buy your first home.
We protect the elderly from fraud and abuse, and provide comprehensive health care at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and our various clinics. And throughout life’s cycle, we protect you from crime, fight fires, operate landfills, conduct elections, manage airports, provide aid to the poor, build roads, and operate beautiful regional parks. But during these tough economic times, nothing the county does is more important than the efforts we are making to bring new jobs into our county and strengthen the viability of the current business community.
Through the cooperation and partnership between the county Workforce Investment Board and Economic Development Agency, we have held numerous job fairs around the county that have brought hundreds of job seekers and employers together. We have also helped many businesses with advisory services at no cost to them. Jobs will create the revenue we need to make our communities safe, healthy, and livable. Without jobs, nothing else is possible.
We saw the recession coming, and we took immediate action. Like a good business, we put the brakes on spending, we froze hiring, and we maintained healthy reserves so we could build for the future and maintain one of the top credit ratings for a government agency. This was not easy with falling revenues and cost increases. With a lot of hard work by staff and cooperation from many county employees we were able to meet the challenge and pass a balanced budget without a decrease in services.
We have completed and are still building a number of projects with our own money including the recently completed High Desert Government Center in Hesperia and a new prison expansion project in Adelanto, and added new libraries, new fire stations, 83 new beds at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, and a new medical office building. We will invest in our future by continuing to focus on bringing jobs to our communities by maintaining a healthy business climate.
We made a positive leap forward this year with the hiring of former Ontario City Manager Greg Devereaux as our new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and then gave the position added administrative and management responsibilities by changing the position title to Chief Executive Officer, which allows Greg to serve the county unencumbered by political interference and a clearer chain of command and delineation of responsibilities.
Another thing we did as a part of this year’s budget tightening is to reorganize the staffs of the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrative Office to reduce our overall budget and create a structure to provide better and more appropriate service to the Board. Several Board staff members were moved to the CAO’s office to assist the Board with special projects and provide support for the many agencies on which Board members serve.
Our priority is to protect our ability to provide vital public services such as public safety and health care, maintain an excellent quality of life for our residents, and foster the economic development that will pull us out of this downturn and ensure a prosperous future.
Even on a good day, San Bernardino County is a challenging place to manage. As you know we are the largest county in the lower 48, and that we are larger than many states both in terms of square miles and population. Yet we have to cope with the fact that more than 81 percent of our land mass is outside of local jurisdiction. It is owned and controlled by the federal government.
To help guide our decisions as we manage this county, we are in the process of creating a roadmap that will guide us through good times and bad. For the first time for planning purposes, we are using something called a Community Indicators Report (CIR). This report provides an annual measurement of the quality of life in San Bernardino County. It shows that after years of unprecedented growth and prosperity, our county faces challenges in the areas of economic development, education, and health. But the report also shows that we have positive opportunities in our future, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and logistics. We will do a CIR study next year to measure and examine conditions in the county at that point in time.
In the last year, the Board also adopted a list of goals and objectives for the current fiscal year. One of those goals is to create a countywide vision. This will include input from 2 million residents, 24 cities, and a myriad of unincorporated communities. We need to define what county government’s role is and what it ought to be. That requires input from individual citizens, the business community, and local government leaders.
To summarize, we are moving forward in a positive, accountable way, living within our means, and providing the citizens of San Bernardino County the best possible services our resources will allow.
To further reflect our resolve, the Board recently approved the public display, in the Board chambers, of the motto “In God We Trust”. That highlights our belief that this simple message will provide a beacon and a measuring stick for everything we do as representatives of a diverse community and that our actions live up to that motto.
Thank you and God bless!