Los Angeles County Agency Spent $17,000 on Trip to Beach Resort

Los Angeles County recently spent approximately $17,000 on a beach resort “leadership retreat” for county Probation Department officials, CBS2/KCAL9 investigative reporter David Goldstein reported.

The reporter confronted officials in attendance, including Sheila Mitchell, the number two person in the Probation Department (she made $315,000 in salary last year), who was filmed getting out of her county-issued car in June at Shutters on the Beach resort in Santa Monica. Goldstein said there were approximately 20 county employees in attendance.

“I was very upset when I saw your story,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn told Goldstein in a follow-up story, saying the decision to use tax dollars on the beach retreat illustrated “bad judgment all the way around.” Hahn said she is considering proposing an ordinance to mandate that retreats be held in county buildings.

The retreat was conducted by the Spirit Awakening Foundation, and the organizer told Goldstein that probation executives learned how to work with youth in a more compassionate way. The training included breathing and meditative exercises to pass along to the rest of the staff.

Hahn said probation officers need more training, but not that kind.

“I don’t think that’s what they’re asking for,” she said. “I don’t think they’re asking for more meditation or breathing exercises.”

After Goldstein first started asking questions, the Probation Department said it launched an investigation. The department said that investigation has not been completed yet. (Source: CBS2 News, July 24 and July 31.)