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County DCFS Head Lands At Other County Job After Removal

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Trish Ploehn loses her job as head of L.A. County's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) because of the agency's troubles--but settles into another county job at over a quarter million a year salary.

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Details on the situation at the agency that led to the firing earlier this week from the L.A Times:

Whoever runs the agency will face difficult challenges: A backlog of investigations into abuse and neglect allegations remains dauntingly large. Crucial information about family history is still not readily available to most social workers in the field, and many county departments fail to share information in a timely manner, despite years of notice to the Board of Supervisors that lack of communication impedes good decision making....

Ploehn's relationship with some of the county supervisors has frayed in recent months as problems mounted at the agency. [top aide to county Chief Executive William T Fujioka, Antonia] Jimenez's report about management deficiencies at the agency portrayed a more dire situation than many county officials had assumed. It crystallized concerns among senior officials that Ploehn, who joined the department in 1979 and was the first director selected from inside its ranks, was not the right person to fix its current problems.

And here's what Ploehn gets, reports the L.A. Times:

Trish Ploehn, the recently departed director of Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services, has been appointed assistant county executive.

In her new position assisting county Chief Executive William T Fujioka, she will be responsible for education initiatives at the county and will retain her current $260,000 salary indefinitely....

That decision drew criticism from Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who does not believe her new responsibilities qualify her for such high compensation. "The work she is going to be doing is not commensurate with the salary she is going to be paid," said Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell.

One bright spot for the citizens paying these officials' salaries: "Under the terms of her new employment agreement, Ploehn will not receive a severance payment for losing her former job." That is, for being fired for doing a bad job.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is glad Ploehn is gone and lays out what he thinks the DCFS needs to do. A collection of L.A. Times reports on DCFS failures. Daniel Heimpel writes in support of Ploehn's policy of trying to keep kids in their original homes.

Image taken by Flickr user Beppie K. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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