County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Rob Lewin announced he will retire this year.

Lewin joined OEM, the department responsible for emergency planning and coordination of the Santa Barbara operational area, four years ago and in 2016 he was appointed Director. He has nearly 40 years in emergency and incident management. He was at the helm for numerous natural disasters including the 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito, the Thomas Fire, and the Holiday Fire.

Prior to joining Santa Barbara County OEM, Lewin served as Fire Chief for CAL FIRE, San Luis Obispo County Fire Department. 

He will stay in his position through the current winter storm season.

Santa Barbara County Executive Officer Mona Miyasoto praised Lewin for building"the best OEM team we've ever had,"  in department email to county leaders. "He has led the county organization and the community through unprecedented disasters and demonstrated extreme ownership, command presence and true leadership when it was most needed... His unwavering commitment to serving and protecting all of us was proven time and again," wrote Miyasoto.

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Flicka Mar 02, 2019 12:25 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

No one had any idea how devastating the 1/9 debris flow would be. They knew there would be a flash flood but that one was over the top horrible. People below East Valley (192) were given "voluntary evacuation" notices, up to them to get out if they lived near a creek. Mandatory notices were given to all above E. Valley; 10-15% got out. Would it have been any better below the drawing line with mandatory orders? Not likely.

Factotum Mar 01, 2019 05:12 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

What does this position cost county taxpayers: Robert Lewin Assistant Department Leader-Executive (2017) Regular pay: $137,173.00 Overtime pay: $0.00 Other pay: $28,385.00 Total pay: $165,558.00 Benefits: $30,127.00 Total pay & benefits: $195,685.00

Joe G Mar 01, 2019 04:54 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

The best OEM team Santa Barbara County ever had consisted of Richard Abrams, Elsa Arndt, Yolanda McGlinchey, Jay McAmis and Joe Guzzardi. Most of that group ran OEM between 1998 and 2015. That team professionally managed an incredibly effective and successful Emergency Operations Center for some of the most devastating disasters to hit Santa Barbara County. Gaviota, Gap, Zaca, Tea and Jesusita fires to only mention a few. That team always collaborated with community partners, and consistently communicated to the public in clear concise language; NEVER failing to properly manage community alerts, warnings and evacuations. Richard is happily retired. Elsa retired as Deputy Director of OEM (and recently passed away), Yolanda became the OES Director for Santa Barbara City. Jay is Deputy Director for San Jose OEM, and Joe leads the Office of Emergency Services for San Luis Obispo County. THAT team was/is the cream of the Emergency Management crop, and the best OEM team SB ever had.

CoastWatch Mar 01, 2019 05:05 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

@Joe G- Interesting you say that... The big pipeline oil spill occurred during their reign and it was a total CLUSTER- in fact, the oil company and their "response team" took over the County OES...!

a-1582310523 Mar 01, 2019 01:44 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

OEM under his command DID NOT do a good job with alerts. The Holiday Fire was a pure disaster and they LIED to the public and media stating everyone received an alert that needed one. This was not true. Someone needs to investigate this. Adios Lewin!

Bug Girl Mar 01, 2019 01:02 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

He did a very good job with the fires and the flood. I can only imagine how stressful that job is, and he handled it very well. I hope he takes a much deserved vacation to start off his retirement, and enjoys his pension(s) as much as he likes.

tagdes Mar 01, 2019 04:35 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

Like when they called me back rather than fill an open position to do a couple of months of work that was suddenly needed or lose a bunch of Fed funds. As an Engr. Tech. II they paid me a little over my old pay, but guess what... no retirement or other benefits and no training someone new, it cost them, yes you and myself less. I'm sure from your post you didn't realize that we pay taxes also. So we'll see how many like yourself have no idea of which you're complaining about.

a-1582310523 Mar 01, 2019 12:32 PM
County Office of Emergency Management to Retire

How much will he be banking now that he's on the gravy train forever at county taxpayers expense? I'm all for a fair retirement, but many City & County types get as much if not more than when they really worked.

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