EL CENTRO – Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero asked the Board of Supervisors to allow attorney Joseph Beard to continue working on a consulting basis with his office. The retired Beard needed special approval to override the California Public Employee’s Pension Reform Act that disallows rehiring an employee within the same system for 180 days after retirement. Beard had retired from the District Attorney’s office January 11, 2013.
Under the special circumstance provision, that law can be overridden. Otero declared that Beard filled a critically-needed position.
Unable to provide details on the three cases Beard heads, Otero insisted that the time and investigation Beard has invested in the cases could not be easily duplicated by another attorney in his office.
“One case in particular, his services are critical, but there are actually three cases he needs to finish.” Otero said.
Beard has been working on these cases for quite a length of time according to Otero, two years on one matter. The case is sensitive, has included numerous grand juries, and is a very technical criminal case.
“The county will save money in the long run by allowing Beard to finish these cases, plus the funds for the case are being picked up by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.” HIDTA was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, and it provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
Otero anticipates Beard will be wrapping up his cases by the end of the year.