Scandal Of The Week

by AVA News Service, April 12, 2017

(Ed Note: This kind of thing happens with enough regularity in public sector Mendocino County, and is just as often kept top secret, that the only way to make the public aware of the more grotesque cases is to publish whatever we get about them. No one in local government will say anything other than the pro forma baloney from the Superior Court printed here. BTW, Mrs. Markham's former husband was David Markham, one of Kenny Rogers’ series of incompetent attorneys, appointed natch, by the Superior Court of Mendocino County.)

* * *

Editor,

On [blank] March, [blank] 2017

[no other letter head, but looks like a All Department Staff email]

“The following e-mail is being sent on behalf of Judge Reimenschneider:

Dear Probation staff:

This notice is to advise you that probation of adult division manager Kevin Kelley has been appointed as acting chief probation officer effective immediately and until further notice. I understand you may have questions; however, we will not be able to provide additional information at this time.

The court and the county appreciate the hard work you do every day at probation and Juvenile Hall. We anticipate that you will continue to do so and that you'll give acting chief Kelley your full cooperation during his appointment.

Please feel free to contact me or Heidi Dunham, County Human Resources Director, if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely, Judge Reimenschneider”

* * *

Is it bad luck or just bad leadership? The brand new Chief Probation Officer out on paid leave being investigated? Who knows? Of course it's confidential but once again the staff are left hanging, being told nothing as rumors fly of her affair with one of her managers resulting in her third divorce. And the CEO and judges were warned she was a party girl who openly discussed already being fond of the boys "in" the good old boys club at probation. Her own words that she foolishly shared at training with line staff prior to being her being hired but she smoothly turned it all around when confronted and warned by the judges.

She told the entire staff how hurt she was when her new boss told her this "gossip" after she gave up so much to come to Ukiah (better salary) with only good intentions for saving the department.

Like becoming a female chief probation officer at her age with her experience was likely in a larger county. This is what everyone uses as a steppingstone to a better paying county when they can't get promoted in their own county. She was very convincing that she was only here for us, wanting to make things better. We were directed to not discuss the past investigation, everyone gets a clean slate with her. Right.

Well, not quite everyone, she clearly didn't want to include or work with specific managers, supervisors and line staff. She hadn't been here a week before she was changing assignments, shunning and excluding.

It is truly a mystery what she is on leave for right now. It's hush hush, but conveniently thr affair has now come out giving the department staff time to accept the news should she return unscathed and even more empowered.

This woman knows how to "lean in" and "use her womanly ways," which is her phrase. But there must be more than just the sex, divorce and scandal, because following the last year long investigation under the previous chief for sexual discrimination, harassment and favoritism, this department was ordered to attend several mandatory meetings with human resources to "train" on sexual-harassment so everyone was clear per the county it is okay to have sex with coworkers, even married supervisors sleeping with line staff. As long as it isn't connected to promotions or discipline that isn't sexual-harassment and the county only cares about getting sued.

But wait, she just got approval for a new assistant chief and lead supervisor positions and it was obvious to all of us that this boy toy manager is the only one qualified for the big promotion. She completely excludes the other managers from her team, they are openly left out of meetings as she sits in the Superintendent of Juvenile Hall’s office for hours or he sits in her office. It's like being a voyeur on their dates. If you try to discuss work you feel you're interrupting. After all, who wants to talk work?

We staff were told by human resources that it isn't good practice having affairs at work and it could end up badly but as coworkers we just need to accept this in our work environment. But she says she has an open door and we can ask her anything, but because she is so open she also says if she finds anyone "gossiping" about her, it will not be tolerated and they will be written up. She doesn't want to hear negative information about anyone or anything, only solutions if you come to talk to her. Sort of tough to go in and ask her if her affair with the only manager she has leaned on since her arrival seven months ago is going to have any impact on her decision about who should be promoted to that new fat salaried assistant chief position. Perhaps if she was focused on running the department she wouldn't need an assistant since no one has needed one for over 25 years at probation.

This woman got the red carpet rolled out for her when she came here, the CEO basically gave her an open checkbook, a little human resources helper was at her side like a personal assistant, a direct line to give her whatever she needed to get this poor department back on track. But the CEO and judges who hire and supervise her once again underestimated her will and the power of the "boys" club who were clearly in favor the day she started.

Part of the problem is that no one really supervises the chief probation officer. They are an at-will employee but our staff has been told over and over by human resources that the chief can do anything they want. Department staff have risked telling the judges and investigators about improper use of department funds, no accountability or discipline for really bad behavior inside and outside of work by supervisors. But ultimately feedback and directions from the CEO and judges are only suggestions that can be completely ignored by the chief.

They even went so far as to spend lots of money to hire a retired chief to be a "consultant" for the last bad chief but he still wouldn't take a look at what was wrong in the department and fix it. So when that chief "retired" we searched far and wide to get this new out of county chief to ensure no favoritism.

But only one person applied and amazingly it was a woman. How perfect? Of course a woman will protect us from sexual discrimination and favoritism.

Whatever the outcome of this time off for her, we know we won't be told anything. It's confidential. But trust the CEO and human resources and the judges that they have taken steps to ensure it is addressed. Right. For God's sake, what will it take for the probation department staff to get help to heal from years of trauma due to poor leadership?

If Mendocino county would pay competitive salaries perhaps they would get quality department heads and managers. We have become the training ground for everyone to learn and then move on to a better paying county. But the trauma of surviving new leadership to the underpaid lines staff is unreal. Our CEO’s decisions don't seem to be based on getting high performance from happy staff as much as minimizing the fiscal damage of potential lawsuits and wasting lots of money on internal investigations and consultants.

Oh yes, the new chief recently announced we are being sued in federal court by a past female employee, Amanda Carley. Nothing more about why, but we were warned we can't discuss it at work and don't erase your e-mails.

Here we go again.

But I find it amazing as a taxpaying citizen of this county that our CEO is more willing to pay for these investigations and lawsuits, most of which are resolved with a clause that the county will pay lots of money, but the defendant is sworn to secrecy about the outcome and the amount paid. This must have a huge fiscal impact on the budget which ultimately impacts the CEO’s ability to give the working staff raises which would ultimately get us better quality staff and leaders who would stay around and not behave immaturely as they learn how to lead.

Oh my god, and this poor sucker who has to be the interim chief! This should be his opportunity to prove he can lead and fix this new mess but this is quite possibly a setup for the poor guy if she comes back. She already is open about the fact that she doesn't like him, so he is a dead man walking if he doesn't do what she would do. They should have just given the interim position to her boyfriend. He knows what she wants and he won't get punished. If it is already this bad in only seven months, why would they work so hard to keep her there? Everyone knows an employee will do their best during the first year. So if there are problems during that time it won't get better.

Obviously I can't sign this.

I hope you can do some investigating and report on this.

* * *

From the Probation Department’s webpage:

Leadership: Leadership for the Probation Department is provided by the following individuals:

Chief Probation Officer — Pamela R. Markham

Adult Division Manager — Jean Glentzer

Juvenile Division Manager — Kevin Kelley

Juvenile Hall — Brady Bechtol

Business Services — Cathy White

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(Superior Court press release May, 2016)

Pamela Markham appointed as new Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County

Pamela Markham of Lakeport has been appointed as the next Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County. Markham will succeed Buck Ganter, who will be retiring in July after serving as CPO since May 2013. She will assume her new duties on July 5.

Carmel J. Angelo, Mendocino County CEO, stated, “We are very excited to have Ms. Markham joining our executive leadership team as the County’s Chief Probation Officer. Her experience and leadership skills will be an asset to the County and will bring a new energy to the Probation Department.”

Markham has a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Sacramento State University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in justice management from the University of Nevada in Reno. Since February 2014, she has served as probation program manager for the Nevada County Probation Department. Previously, Markham served as a deputy probation officer and as a supervising deputy probation officer in Nevada County. She has also served as adjunct faculty in administration of justice at Yuba Community College. In 2014 she received the Trainer of the Year Award from the Chief Probation Officers of California.

She currently lives in Lakeport with her husband, attorney David Markham, and her four daughters.

Juvenile Court Judge David Riemenschneider, chair of the CPO Search Committee, stated, “We recognize this is a very important appointment and position to fill for Mendocino County; and after a thorough search process involving many people, I concluded that Pamela Markham is the right person for this job. We are fortunate to have hired someone with her experience and qualifications, and we look forward to many years with her as our Chief Probation Officer.”

Markham stated, “I am honored to be chosen as the next Chief Probation Officer; and I am excited to work with the Court, the Board of Supervisors, community justice partners and community based organizations in Mendocino County, as well as the staff members at the Probation Department. I look forward to filling Chief Ganter’s shoes and continuing to implement evidence based practices to promote public safety by reducing recidivism.”

* * *

Pamela Markham receiving "Trainer of the Year" award, 2014, with Nevada County Probation Chief Michael Ertola

107 Responses to Scandal Of The Week

  1. Steve R Reply

    September 6, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Because the pay is a hell of a lot better in Sonoma. Have you been to Ukiah? Check out the pay difference for all probation jobs across the board. Only a desperate fool would leave Sonoma to down grade to Ukiah. Or someone who couldn’t move up to a higher position in Sonoma County because they have some sort of deficit. Which means Ukiah ends up with yet another looser…… not a good idea. People from other counties only come to Ukiah to use it as a stepping stone so they can go back to where they came from with a bit of experience under their belt to get a better job OUT of Mendocino county. They are only temporary employees. What Ukiah needs is someone who will stick around because Ukiah is already home. Someone who already understands how things work here. Someone with experience and knows the true dynamics of the department already and can not be fooled by the Brady Bechtol club. Remember they still have a gang of dumb fu**s who tow down to sh*t disturbers like Bechtol. And they are just like him and the Pam Markham’s of the world. Just check who he is buddies with and there’s your Bechtol disciples. NOPE hiring out of county should NOT be an option unless the higher ups of this unique town want to continue to have more problems. Or some new problems. Just look at what good it did this last time that they thought that was a good idea. The board of supervisors need to open their eyes wide this time around. What they need is someone who understands the dynamics of this very small disfunctional county and likely knows already what needs to be done that will make things better not worse. They just need to keep people like Heidi Dunham out of the selection process since she is so bias. Judge Riemenschneider should by now know the right decision to make after having such a fiasco created by others picking. He needs to be the one in charge this time around. Use logic and make an intelligent decision. That’s my sentiment as well as many people I know who are long time Ukiah residents.

  2. Jamie Reply

    September 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Remember to click on NEWWER COMMENTS since there are so many posted to this article. And OLDER COMMENTS if only the newer ones are showing posted on when you sign into this.You would not want to miss out on any of these posts.

  3. Joe Hansem Reply

    September 7, 2017 at 5:33 am

    So probably just have Kelley go from Interim to CPO. Probably the safest bet.

    • Steve R Reply

      September 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Smartest idea I’ve heard in a long time.

    • Yuri Reply

      September 8, 2017 at 7:05 am

      Yeah only he won’t. Kevin never wanted to be CPO, and probably has every intention of handing it off to someone else as soon the higher ups finally decide to stop dragging this out. But who knows when that’s gunna happen. Going on, what, month 7? And still no word or any other actions taken.

      • MC Social Service Employee Reply

        September 29, 2017 at 6:31 pm

        I’ll tell you one thing as an employee of Social Services. I know for a fact that Kevin Kelly has done more in the last 6 months that the last three Chief’s combined. Whether he wants the position or not, isn’t the issue here. Take him out of the equation and see what happens. There is more to Probation than just badges & guns. His leadership when he was the Juvenile division manager made such a huge impact towards positive improvement. My colleagues and I would describe him as a man of integrity. He would be our pick to continue on as CPO. The smartest move would be for the Judges to simply appoint him.

  4. David Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Back to Pamela Markham & her boyfriend Bechtol……. Heard through the grapevine that she is still on the payroll for now. Not sure exactly what that means? Interesting tidbit….. while still on payroll you get paid your usual sick days and storred up vacation time as if you were working …..heard from a buddy of mine that Bechtol and his girlfriend are heading overseas for an exotic lengthy vacation….. Just one of the perks of working for the county is all the sick days and vacation days that you get and still get paid…. Sounds to me like Markham is using hers up.

  5. susie de castro Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    The Union makes sure the terms of the contract are honored. Therefore, if the employee is hired for one year, it is obligatory that the company/agency honor the terms of the contract, as well, and continue to pay the employee until the contract expires (if that is what was agreed upon – most of the time it is). The terms are negotiated at the time of hiring. I do not know how it works if the contract is for several years, however the terms are established before the parties sign.
    This is what the employee pays Union dues for, protection in the event of termination, before the expiration of the negotiated term.

    • Joe Hansem Reply

      September 20, 2017 at 6:16 am

      Yeah but, is the Chief in the union? Seems like that’s a management position.

      • susie de castro Reply

        September 20, 2017 at 10:08 am

        Yes. The Chief Probation Officer falls under the Department Head Union M.O.U. – Memorandum of Understanding between the County of Mendocino and the Employee.

        • Anonymous Reply

          September 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

          How does this work for division managers and supervisors?
          Are they part of the Union?

          • susie de castro Reply

            September 21, 2017 at 11:13 am

            I don’t know.
            I called Mendocino County Human Resources to get information about the specific classification of Chief Probation Officer.
            I’m sure they would be able to answer your question.

            • Former Employee Reply

              September 21, 2017 at 2:22 pm

              Supervisors,Managers and CPO belong to 3 separate unions, or bargaining units. You might be able to find the agreements on the county website. I haven’t looked it up for quite awhile. The old county site had the info on it months ago. Don’t know about the new site.

              Can’t belive it has taken so long to resolve this issue. A person could have given birth to a kid by now. I’ve seen other employees either asked to resign,quit or ge fired for lesser things that this in a much shorter time period.

              • Angela Reply

                September 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm

                Isn’t that the truth. I’ve also seen people asked to turn in their badge and go home for lesser issues. Not in this case. I know many women who wanted Pam to succeed because she was a young woman. Instead she turned out to be a huge disappointment and embarrassment. The damage that she caused is greater than we all know. The stories that have been told are much bigger than the posts on this site. I don’t know how she can show her face in Ukiah. If it was me I’d never leave the house or I’d move.
                She has damaged the reputation of her husband, the probation department, her former boss, those who hired her and even her children. Who knows why they are coddling her for so long.

              • Ted Russell Reply

                September 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

                This is the link to the website.
                a whole bunch of links to read through.

                https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/human-resources/labor-relations

                Teamsters are for probation officers this I have heard before. Not sure of the one for Chief’s or Division managers and supervisors.
                Might give some insight.

  6. Juno M Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    That seems logical. But Pam Markham was appointed May 23,2016 then officially put on leave in March 2017. AVA article April 12,2017. Making her first year of hire officially over in May 23,2017.
    She didn’t even make it a year before she screwed things up for herself.

    http://www.mendocino.courts.ca.gov/docs/press/2016-0523.pdf

    Hopefully they are finalizing the terms of her termination agreement if one has been made? Probably has to use up her sick days and vacation time making sure that she milks the money owed to her to the max. That’s the kind of personality she has.

    If you ever seen her in action as I have at a training. She has an enormous ego and acts as if she more important than she really is.
    She is part of the generation that has a sense of entitlement attitude and she opitiomizes the description of this character.

    It’s funny how people expect others to abide by rules owed to them. Yet they love to get away with breaking rules for their own benefit. Yep. It’s sure interesting.

    Did she ever finish that Masters degree that she was working on?

  7. Anonymous Reply

    September 11, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Just discovered something very interesting.
    Checked out Pamela R Markham’s Twitter account.

    Pamela R Markham @MendocinoCPO

    The very last post was February 17, 2017.
    It went dead after that date. Why February 17th?

    Check out the photos she posted. They tell a story….You can see one of her favorite female employees getting pinned down by her instructor. We have 3 photos of Officer Noriega. Then you have her leaning into the man sitting next to her. Actually she leans in on everyone she gets photographed with. Somewhat awkward photos… yikes. Why post the Giants game photo on this site? This is her personal life? Strange… oh then goofing around with her subordinate staff on a Friday. This was only her 2nd post … so professional… She does not personify a Chief. She looks like a buddy or a young probation officer at best. Maybe a secretary. Certainly not a Chief. She presents herself too playful and casual. Not professional. Baffling.

    Unlike Donald Trump her tweets went to a complete halt.

  8. Linda Reply

    September 25, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Just came across the Sept 19th post on the AVA
    Markham Quagmire
    http://theava.com/archives/73607#2

    “MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LATER, the results of the initial investigation were confirmed, and after additional pointless delays Ms. Markham was relieved her duties as CPO, which would seem to terminate her employment with the County. Except that the judges then told the County “She’s your employee, not ours.” And there the matter rests. Ms. Markham, who has been removed from the only position she ever held with the County, continues on in a sort of only-in-Mendo employment limbo. And she continues to collect her estimated $10k per months in full pay and benefits at taxpayer expense.”

    How is this possible when the Judges appointed her? If this is the case then CEO Carmel Angelo & HR Head Heidi Dunham need to put their friendships with Pam Markham & Brady Bechtol aside and stop spending county money so unwisely. Back to the good ole girls club and their playing favoritism with Pam because they are friends. This is their call if the Judges say the County needs to take care of the problem. What a waste of tax payers dollars. Come on already.

    Maybe it’s time to get their higher authority involved like the Grand Jury or California Governor Jerry Brown.

    In the mean time Bechtol has no consequence for his part in all this and next month P&B are off on a lengthy vacation overseas. It’s pretty clear who is allowing this to go on….. Wow.

  9. Lake County resident Reply

    September 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    When is enough…. enough?

  10. Annomyous Reply

    September 26, 2017 at 11:12 am

    The local newspapers need to write a public article to announce when this is over. All the papers not just The AVA. Too many people are interested in the outcome.

    • Sue Sponte Reply

      September 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      And how about contacting members of the Board of Supervisors about it or even sending them a copy of this article and the comments? If someone is daring enough they can get up and speak about this during the public comment period at a BOS meeting.

      • Eric Sunswheat Reply

        September 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm

        Hopefully the involved employees are able to complete their therapeutic rehabilitation, regain a sense of entitlement, and gain a new perspective as they come back on, with resumption of full employment status, in their current job careers, here in Mendocino County.

  11. Ted Reply

    September 26, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Markham is such a slippery snake that she will probably act like she did not get fired just to save face in hope to get a job else ware on the county level. If she gets fired well…. then this goes on her resume doesn’t it. If she walks away from the job on her own volition…… well.. She may think that this will save face for a future employment.” Hey I wasn’t fired. I decided it just wasn’t a good fit for me. Conflict of interest since my new boyfriend works there and I thought it was best this way for his career. yaddah yaddha yaddha “…. Gotta love people like her. Wonder what kind of settlement she will get in either case? More money getting drained just to help her save face is what it sounds like to me.

    Hate to break it to you Pam but all the local counties are fully aware of your story. Everyone knows about it on some level. And if Carmel & Heidi give you a stellar letter of recommendation for a new job…. well this will only make them look foolish. Because everyone knows about your friendship with them. Consequences for poor judgment is what happens in the probation world. But Markham must have known that already. I heard that Kohl’s & JCP are hiring for the holidays.

  12. Garth Urban Reply

    October 16, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Here we go again!

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