Top Official Abruptly Departs From County Health Care Agency

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A deputy director of the Orange County Health Care Agency suddenly left his job Monday, the latest in a string of departures of top county officials.

Officials were reportedly stunned when Health Care Agency Director Mark Refowitz announced that effective immediately Ronald B. Norby was no longer with the agency.

Norby, one of five deputy directors in the agency, had overseen emergency and disaster services, the Medical Services Initiative for indigent adults and the employee heath program.

Holly Veale will take over as deputy director for the Medical Services Initiative, according to Refowitz’s announcement.

Norby could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

His departure was so abrupt that at about 5 p.m. a spokeswoman in the Health Care Agency public affairs office said she wasn’t aware that it had happened. Refowitz’s announcement was marked as top priority, but it didn’t disclose any reason for the move.

Several high-level county officials, most notably County Executive Thomas Mauk, have lost their jobs in recent months following the arrest of former county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante. In July, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas charged Bustamante with committing multiple sex crimes against women who worked for him. He remains a Santa Ana city councilman.

Internal reports have revealed that top officials mishandled the investigation into Bustamante’s alleged crimes.

Late last month, the county hired an outside law firm to examine allegations that county Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least four women, employees who were dubbed “Tommy’s Angels.”

The growing number of inquiries has led Rackauckas to call for the creation of a public integrity section in his office.

— REX DALTON

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