Andrew Do, who played a central part in the election saga of Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen in 2007 and then became her chief of staff, will leave the fifth floor this coming week, just months after Nguyen took over as chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors.
The 47-year-old Do, who is a Garden Grove councilman, is moving back to his law practice in Anaheim.
Earlier this month, Mario Mainero — former chief of staff to Supervisor John Moorlach — also left county service. This latest shuffle leaves Matt Petteruto, chief of staff to Supervisor Bill Campbell, as the only chief of staff with a long tenure on the fifth floor.
“It’s just time,” Do said. “The chief of staff position was never something that I thought I’d stay there for eight years.”
No replacement has been announced, and Nguyen didn’t return a call for comment.
“His service has been extremely important to her as a supervisor,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Matthew Harper.
Do played a dramatic role in a controversial recount victory in 2007 that challenged the supremacy of State Assemblyman Van Tran in Orange County’s Vietnamese community.
Do was a principle Vietnamese-language spokesman for Nguyen during the tight 2007 special election, which featured lawsuits and multiple recounts. Eventually, Janet Nguyen beat Trung Nguyen, who was backed by Tran.
“That was a handful,” he said.
Do later helped solidify Nguyen’s county office as a chief counsel and has been by her side during many sparring matches with Tran-backed candidates and issues.
“In the beginning, there was certainly an element of that,” Do said. These days, he doesn’t focus on it, saying, “I don’t’ think it’s constructive going forward to talk about (political) machines.”
He said he was proud to have been “a part of the historic role that Supervisor Nguyen has played on the board.”
“I think the result of what Supervisor Nugyen has done speaks for itself,” Do said.
He speaks reverently of Nguyen’s life journey, which began in 1976 in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her family was among the hundreds of thousands who fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and came to the United States.
“To go in a lifetime from that to the chair of the Board of Supervisors is impressive,” he said. “She symbolizes the Vietnamese community as a whole. … (And it is) a recognition to me about what is great about America.”
— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.