Supervisors Set to Publicly Discuss Search for CEO


The Orange County Board of Supervisors in session. (Photo by: Violeta Vaquiero)

Orange County Supervisors will get their first chance Tuesday to publicly address their courtship of Santa Barbara County CEO Chandra Wallar as they prepare to openly discuss the salary range of their next CEO.

Voice of OC broke the news last week about supervisors negotiating with Wallar. That prompted Wallar to send off a quick email before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting to confirm the talks.

While Santa Barbara supervisors were surprised by the notice, they aren’t apparently sad to see Wallar go.

Wallar was a deputy CEO in San Diego for nearly a decade specializing in land use before assuming the top slot in Santa Barbara County. She is in the third year of a three-year contract.

Orange County supervisors have been quietly interviewing CEO candidates for months, at one point holding the interviews at the First American Financial Corp.'s offices in Santa Ana to guard against leaks.

Former CEO Tom Mauk resigned last July after felony sex crime charges were filed against Carlos Bustamante, a top county executive and a Santa Ana city councilman with local Republican Party connections. After Mauk’s resignation, several top officials were fired or placed on administrative leave.

Since that time, a host of interim executives continue to lead much of the county’s bureaucracy.

Among the elected ranks, Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom left in January for a similar elected post in Sonoma County, Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly left his post after winning election to the Assembly, and Public Administrator John Williams was forced to resign his post.

Bob Franz, the former county chief financial officer, has taken the reigns as interim CEO.

Former county Performance Auditor Steve Danley has taken over as the head of Human Resources while that post remains vacant.

Danley was the leading internal candidate to succeed Mauk until earlier this month, when supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson reportedly lost a bid to appoint him.

While sources indicate that Supervisor John Moorlach reportedly also supports Danley, Supervisor Janet Nguyen, who was close to Mauk, is reportedly set against him because his reports as performance auditor fueled criticism of the former CEO.

Because supervisors do not want to appoint a CEO with a split vote, they have concentrated on an outside search.

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