February 22, 2010 3:53 PM
Natasha Lindstrom

SAN BERNARDINO • To ensure there’s not somebody planting secret recording devices in the San Bernardino County Government Center, county supervisors have approved a $22,500 purchase order for five sweeps to hunt for hidden surveillance equipment.

County spokesman David Wert said the surveillance sweeps aren’t tied to the ongoing public corruption investigation by District Attorney Michael A. Ramos, who two weeks ago charged former county officials Bill Postmus and Jim Erwin with felonies related to bribery in what prosecutors are calling the biggest corruption scandal in county history.

Rather, Wert said the county conducts the periodic sweeps “because discussions concerning litigation and negotiations take place in county offices and protecting the confidentiality of those discussions is important to protecting the taxpayers.”

“The county has been doing this before there was an investigation,” Wert said.

Over the past five years, the county has shelled out more than $42,000 for similar sweeps, according to Wert.

When pressed for what spurred the recent purchase order, Wert said “there wouldn’t have to be anything to trigger it, it’s just a precaution.”

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Natasha Lindstrom may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at nlindstrom@VVDailyPress.com.