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San Bernardino fires Violence Intervention Program manager after 5 years

Press-Enterprise - 3/21/2023

David Miranda, who for the past five years has run San Bernardino’s Violence Intervention Program, was fired March 2, he said this week.

Two staffers in the City Manager’s Office are now overseeing the program in which a collaborative of community groups, schools and others uses a multi-prong approach to reduce crime in town, city spokesman Jeff Kraus said.

Last week, Kraus said because it is a personnel matter, he could only confirm Miranda no longer works for the city.

A job posting for a Community Intervention Program Manager, Miranda’s old position, was posted to the city’s job board on March 3, two days after Miranda sat before the City Council to discuss awarding $1.2 million in state grant money to a Los Angeles nonprofit to provide hospital-based violence intervention and prevention services in San Bernardino.

On March 1, at least one councilmember took issue with Miranda proposing a single-source request for professional services in lieu of opening a traditional request for proposals, or RFP.

Councilmember Theodore Sanchez moved to solicit bids for “a contract this large,” he commented, “and an issue as sensitive as this.”

In response, Miranda explained that Southern California Crossroads has a long history of working with victims of violent crimes that arrive at hospitals. According to his report for the City Council, the group’s services “begin at the bedside and continue post-discharge.”

Miranda told councilmembers that evening that he had spoken with the executive directors of the Violence Intervention Program’s three service providers – Operation New Hope, HOPE Culture and Young Visionaries – about bringing in Crossroads and got their blessing.

Furthermore, Miranda added, he was not precluded from doing sole-source contracts so long as they were justified.

A justification letter signed in January by a city purchasing manager was included in Miranda’s report.

“We went through our due diligence,” Miranda said March 1, adding later how completing the RFP process would take another six months and likely yield the same result.

“We’re losing time,” he said.

An exchange between Miranda and elected officials occurred while Miranda was again defending his decision to propose awarding Crossroads the $1.2 million contract in lieu of going out to bid.

Aside from delaying the implementation of hospital-based violence intervention and prevention services, Miranda noted that waiting to complete the RFP process would require him to complete quarterly progress reports for the state with no assistance.

“I’m a program of one,” he told councilmembers. “I don’t have any support staff, and you guys don’t want to give me any staff. You haven’t wanted to. You’ve been cutting this program since I started, if you can remember that.”

San Bernardino leaders have committed $1.75 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to the Violence Intervention Program since October 2021. Those dollars have gone toward increasing service agreements with existing providers and hiring additional contractors to bolster outreach efforts.

While state dollars fund the program, the city covers the manager’s salary and benefits.

“My charge is to build infrastructure here in the city without city money,” Miranda told the council March 1.

“It’s important we go out to an RFP,” Sanchez said from the dais. “If it’s going to be a little more time, going to be a little more work, we’re not at risk of losing the grant if it’s going to take you another three months to put out an RFP.

“This would be best practices.”

Councilmembers Ben Reynoso and Kimberly Calvin supported approving the $1.2 million pact with Crossroads as recommended, but did not receive additional support.

The City Council subsequently reached a consensus to begin the RFP process.

Councilmember Damon Alexander was absent from the meeting.

In a text message Tuesday, March 21, Miranda said his employment was terminated the following day, March 2.

His job was posted March 3.

Interested parties have until March 26 to apply.

Implemented in 2017 in response to San Bernardino’s deadliest year in more than two decades, the Violence Intervention Program is designed to reduce community violence citywide by 5% each year and recidivism among program participants by 15%.

The results have far exceeded those figures, Miranda said March 1, “not because of me or because of our little program. It’s because of the collective impact with the Police Department, the community, our service providers.

“We are all on the front line.”

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