SBCO Seal

Friday, August 2, 2013 – 06:30 p.m.

What is expected to be a costly settlement between San Bernardino County and former Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Bauer is set to be discussed by county supervisors Tuesday morning.

The U.S. District Court case, Travis Bauer v. County of San Bernardino, is now listed as item #1 on the closed session agenda of the Board of Supervisors.

A settlement, being weighed by county supervisors, was abruptly reached after what sources say was dubious sworn testimony by Sheriff’s Department officials. Testimony made before an administrative hearing officer in a related matter.

Testimony that could have political ramifications in the June 2014 primary.

The case stems from Bauer being targeted by Sheriff”s Department management for alleged sick leave abuse. Sick leave Bauer was using under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), to care for his ill mother.

Bauer alleges he was systematically targeted for termination because of his legitimate use of leave time.

Ultimatley Bauer was fired, and a lawsuit was subsequently filed, naming the county, Sheriff-Coroner John McMahon and six others as defendants.

It appears evidence proved Bauer’s contention. Less than one week before a July 2 trial date, county lawyers pushed for settlement. Even though the matter hadn’t been broached with the Board of Supervisors to obtain authority to do so. A hasty and unprecedented move considering the likely settlement amount involved.

One can only imagine the reaction of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, should county supervisors reject the settlement.

A rejection would imeediatley place the matter back on trial calendar. I can’t imagine Phillips giving any meaningful delay to the county. After all, bad faith usually garners ire among judicial officers.

Expect some sort of announcement from the county counsel, following the completion of closed session. Knowing the county like I do, it’s plausible closed session will be continued into the afternoon, just to delay any early announcements to the media.