SBCO Seal

Saturday, July 13, 2013 – 10:00 a.m.

Is it really a surprise?

Sources say members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors have been caught off guard by the revelation of a costly settlement with a Sheriff’s Deputy fired for using leave, in order to care for a sick parent, in accordance with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Records, obtained from the case file at the U.S. Distrct Court in Riverside, show Sheriff’s officials, never for a minute, believed Deputy Travis Bauer’s claim that his mother was sick. The department proceeded to target Bauer, with the objective to end his employment.

He was eventually fired.

In January 2012, Bauer, with competent legal counsel, sued the county for violations of federal law. A move that was completely unexpected by the county.

Over the course of the next 16-months, the county initiated three attempts to either dismiss, or delay, the case, which alleges multiple federal and state causes of action. However, the federal judge assigned to the case didn’t see things the county’s way and set the matter for trial.

What wasn’t expected?

The case rapidly became riddled with contradictory evidence, and false statements, made by sworn and non-sworn management and supervisory personnel. Then depositions and other evidence from the discovery process leaked out showing an ugly set of circumstances.

Less than one week before Bauer was to take his case before a Federal Jury, county lawyers filed a notice of a yet-to-be-disclosed settlement with the court.

That’s if county superviors agree to approve it.

County records show the matter as never being discussed before supervisors in closed session. In other words, county supervisors were never made aware of the case. How county lawyers obtained the authority to even offer a likely hefty settlement remains a mystery.

How newly-appointed Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon allowed this situation to develop remains unknown.

The incident will obviously become fodder for the June 2014 primary election. So far, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Schrader has announced he will run against McMahon. Retired Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Keith Bushey is reportedly also considering a run.

The settlement, if approved on July 23, will be made public that day.