Blog note: this article references a 2015-16 grand jury report criticizing the San Bernardino County Department of Human Services.
Linda Haugen, assistant executive officer of the San Bernardino County Department of Human Services, is retiring after 35 years with the county.
Haugen, whose last day is Friday, has headed Human Services for 11 years. The department is subdivided into eight other departments that Haugen oversees: Children and Family Services, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Child Support, Veterans Affairs, Transitional Assistance, Preschool Services, and Aging and Adult Services.
The Board of Supervisors presented Haugen with a resolution during its Oct. 4 meeting.
“The Board of Supervisors of the County of San Bernardino, state of California, does hereby recognize and commend Linda Haugen for her 35 years of outstanding service, knowledge and experience,” board Chairman James Ramos said, reading from the resolution.
Behavioral Health director CaSonya Thomas will succeed Haugen.
Both Haugen and Thomas began their careers with the county with the Transitional Assistance Department.
Haugen’s retirement, according to county spokesman David Wert, has nothing to do with an ongoing investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office into alleged corruption and mismanagement at DCFS. The investigation was launched after the office fielded complaints of children being repeatedly placed into abusive homes in which they died or were severely abused, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General’s announcement came 10 days before the county’s civil grand jury released a scathing report on DCFS, which also revealed that department practices had resulted in the deaths of children.
While the county maintains that the issues spelled out in the grand jury report have all been fixed since CFS director Marlene Hagen took the helm nearly two years ago, the Board of Supervisors nonetheless approved a contract with powerhouse attorney John C. Hueston — the same day the board presented Haugen with her resolution — to continue working with the county during the Attorney General’s investigation in assessing its child welfare services system.
“Marlene, I don’t know how you come to work every day sometimes, with the adversarial attitudes from other people, but you come to work every day because you love those kids,” Haugen told Hagen during the Oct. 4 board meeting. “It will just be a matter of time before everyone understands that, and just hang in there, because you’re doing a great job.”
Haugen took over Human Services in 2005, where her first order of business was to decrease the county’s food stamp error rate. Her collaboration with other human services departments to improve services to the public is attributed to the county consistently winning national and state awards for innovative and effective programs, according to a county news release.
“Linda Haugen is considered to be one the state’s leading social services executives,” Wert said.
During a heartfelt speech on Oct. 4, Haugen credited her colleagues, county CEO Greg Devereaux, and the Board of Supervisors for all their support and assistance over the years. And of course, she thanked her husband, Kenny, for being her “rock.”
She concluded with a quote by Winnie the Pooh. Well, sort of:
“How lucky am I to have something so great to say goodbye,” Haugen said.
Friday, October 14, 2016
San Bernardino County executive Linda Haugen retiring after 35 years
October 10, 2016
San Bernardino County Sun
By Joe Nelson