Supervisors plan restructuring to meet COVID-19 challenges

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– As part of the County’s ongoing effort to meet the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Sept. 29, plans to modify Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride’s contract with the County, placing him in the newly created position of County Strategic Projects Director. The Board on Tuesday will begin discussions on the appointment of a new CEO.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed highly complex strains on the County’s fiscal and organizational status and outlook. This crisis requires the undivided focus of Gary’s experience, unique understating of county finance, and problem-solving talents,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman.

“This is a great opportunity for me to concentrate my talents and passions in a way that will be of great service and benefit to the people of this county, the Board of Supervisors, and this organization,” McBride said. “The crisis of COVID-19 presents us with opportunities to rethink how we address public health challenges and funding in this new era. Those are the kind of challenges I love tackling and I am excited that the Board wants to focus on them.”

McBride has spent his entire 26-year professional career in San Bernardino County government and has served as CEO since November 2017. He previously served for four years as the County’s Chief Financial Officer.

As Strategic Projects Director, McBride will assist with the development of countywide strategies to improve outcomes and efficiencies. Initial projects would include analyzing and developing strategies to address the immediate and long-term fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including identifying the most effective application of CARES Act monies and other available funding vehicles.

McBride will also be charged with providing the County information for determining strategic direction related to complex issues that require a multi-departmental response. One example of this is the nexus between homelessness, mental health, and incarceration.

The creation of this position marks the latest innovation by the County in addressing the extraordinary and unprecedented demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. These innovations include:
* San Bernardino County created the first-in-the-nation COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program, which provides cash grants to businesses, churches, schools, and nonprofit organizations who agree to operate in a COVID-safe manner to assist with the costs of safety supplies and modifications.

* In order to create additional capacity within the County Public Health Department so it could strategically focus on health guidance, contract tracing, vaccinations, and other core health duties, the County proactively assigned other key pandemic-related functions to other County departments and agencies for greater efficiency.

o The County assigned the management of COVID-19 testing to the County Office of Emergency Services, which specializes in securing facilities, staff, and supplies in crisis situations.

o The County assigned management of the SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility) Task Force, created by Public Health to address and help prevent outbreaks in State-regulated nursing facilities, to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

o The County assigned complaints about noncompliant businesses and enforcement to a multi-agency task force headed by the County Administrative Office, which created the proactive Education/Engagement/Enforcement Plan. Partners include the Sheriff’s Department, County Fire Marshal, Environmental Health Services, Code Enforcement, and County Counsel.

“These innovative measures demonstrate the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to protecting the public’s health, our countywide economy, and County Government’s ability to function fiscally and organizationally through this pandemic and beyond,” Hagman said.

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