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Measure A Aims to Hold Public Official Accountable

After almost a three-year storm of controversy surrounding the alleged management shortcomings of now-retired OC Public Administrator John Williams, voters can choose to make his position appointed, not elected.

It was a long road that led to former Orange County Public Administrator John Williams' retirement in February.

But now the position is vacant, and OC voters could approve the countywide Measure A to make the office a full-time appointment rather than an elected one.

Supporters said the move will make the position more accountable, according to the "pro" statement filed with the Orange County Registrar of Voters. The Administrator is responsible for handling the assets and affairs of dead OC residents with no apparent heirs, wills or executors.

Those prominent supporters of the measure who signed the ballot statement argument in favor of the measure include OC supervisors Bill Campbell and John Moorlach, OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, OC Republican Party chief Scott Baugh and Reed Royalty of the OC Taxpayers Association.

It was the Board of Supervisors who, last summer, put the measure on the ballot.

No statement against the measure was filed with the Registrar of Voters.

The Grand Jury in 2009 excoriated Williams' management of the administrator office, according to the Voice of OC. The office once employed OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' fiancee, an issue that came up in the DA's firing of his political acolyte-cum-rival Todd Spitzer.

News agencies, including the Voice, have reported that the firing decision came after Spitzer's inquiries into the alleged dysfunction of the administrator's office, which exposed the OC government to massive liability, an outside attorney for the county said.

Finally, after legal posturing and private negotiations with supervisors, Williams officially resigned in February, leaving technocrats to man the office.

Voices against Measure A appear silent as the election approaches, but the Orange County Register's editorial board wants its readers to vote "yes" on the measure.

Patch in Orange County does not take political positions.

Roy Reynolds June 01, 2012 at 08:26 PM
This is just another nonsensical life extension of a mediocre Department hidden in an already bloated government bureaucracy. As I wrote in the Register a year ago, this position needs to be combined with the Public Guardian job (that Williams also held) AND THEN OUTSOURCED: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/-301985--.html. Like a bank's Trust Department, the Public Administrator/Guardian is a back office exercise that can be competitively bid for and then run in the private sector. There's nothing magical, or especially, political about this job -- and as Williams proved with his incompetence and malfeasance, it needs strong oversight and frequent periodic review by both private AND public Auditors (which the County has in abundance internally and on contract). As I wrote, this isn't the only County government operation that could be competitively bid into the private sector and run by a group of professionals who desire the business. The Assessor, the Treasurer/Tax Collector and the Clerk-Recorder are other examples of half-automated, back office operations that do NOT need to be union-dominated County departments. The County Jail is another candidate for outsourcing.
Nat Ferguson June 01, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Can we hold them accountable to having a head shot that doesn't come across as "cheesy"?
Brent Deter June 02, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Roy, I agree with all but one of your comments. Jails should never be privatized. It will only lead to more folks being incarcerated. The Private Sector will lobby for stiffer sentences. There are simply to many laws, to many. I live in NC and we have privatized and it works to a certain extent. However the reason that jails were privatized in the first place is that government couldn't afford to build more jails and along comes venture capitol and private enterprise. If the Government can afford to build jails then they should reduce the the number of things that are against the law. If politicians were such pandering idiots we would be better off.
Yeparoo June 04, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Brent - google California Prison Guards Union and read up on this group successfully pushing for more aggressive sentencing. They are a hallareous group. Wonder why they are against housing prisoners in out of state facilities? Hmmmm, $$$$ ?


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