Brain Drain Again at County Government: Darlene Bloom and David Riley retire.


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Two executives in Orange County government with combined experience that exceeds 60 years have announced their retirement, bringing yet another brain drain to county government.

Darlene Bloom

According to a press release issued by the County Executive Office on October 3, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Darlene Bloom and Health Care Agency Director David Riley have announced their retirement this coming January. Bloom had worked for Orange County since 1996 as Clerk of the Board, and before that worked in both Fresno and Alameda counties in similar roles. Riley began with Orange County in 1976, gradually rising through the ranks to reach the position of Director of the Health Care Agency just two years ago, following the retirement of Julie Poulson from that directorship.

David Riley

Undoubtedly the enhanced retirement benefits bestowed on county employees by the Board of Supervisors a decade ago resulted in these veteran government employees getting to the point at a realtively young age where they were working for very little more, if any, than they could draw in their retirement. Once a person gets to that point retiring is a no brainer.

It is unfortunate that the County along with many other public agencies has adopted a retirement strategy that drives people away even though they have many productive years ahead of them. Perhaps they will wind up working elsewhere and endure the accusation of being double dippers?

There is at least one understudy in the Clerk of the Board Office who can step into that job without any difficulty, if she wants the job that is. Working directly for the Supervisors and catering to their whims, egos and temper tantrums is no easy task, so anyone looking at that job needs to give it some serious thought.

As for the Health Care Agency, there is at least one person on the top management team who could do the job and do it well. However, he has a a bit of baggage, having stood up to one or more Supervisors in the past when the Supervisors made dumb decisions, so if the Supervisors want a yes man or woman they may pass on this person. You can also bet the movers and shakers in the medical community in Orange County (commonly known as the Doc’s and Hospitals) will make every effort to influence the Supervisors on their decision of how to fill the position and who to pick.

Let’s wish Bloom and Riley smooth sailing as they prepare to leave Mother County come January. And, let’s keep our eye on what the Supervisors do with these 6 figure Executive Level jobs.  We need competent managers in key roles like this, not political cronies.


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.