A formal mediation process is underway between the Board of County Commissioners and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The mediation is an attempt to rebuild the BOCC and LCSO’s relationship, which deteriorated throughout 2019 largely due to IT concerns.
In September, Sheriff Amy Reyes accused the BOCC of improperly accessing the email inboxes of former dispatchers Nicole Garner, Maria Chavez and Chelsa Parsons. The women are currently suing the BOCC and LCSO for unlawful sex discrimination.
The BOCC denied all of Reyes’ claims.
Reyes hired Johnny Aird as LCSO’s IT director after the BOCC fired Aird from his county-wide IT position. And Reyes, who is worried about the physical security of LCSO’s servers, now holds the sole key to the county courthouse’s server room.
As a result, the BOCC, as well as other elected officials like the assessor, clerk and treasurer, no longer have access to the room that holds their IT equipment. And Aird, an individual previously terminated by the commissioners, now has unsupervised access to a room containing BOCC IT assets.
Thomas Moorhead, of the Judicial Arbiter Group, met with the BOCC and LCSO separately in November to hear concerns and misgivings. Last week, Moorhead led a meeting with both entities in an attempt to air differences and move forward.
“It did feel like we made some progress and opened channels of communication,” Commissioner Kayla Marcella said of the meeting. Reyes similarly told the Herald that the meeting, which was closed to the public, went well.
Moorhead, the BOCC and LCSO will meet again in mid-December, as Commissioner Sarah Mudge was out of town for the first joint meeting.
Until then, Reyes said the sever room will remain locked.