Orange County’s Internal Auditor is reviewing payroll time sheets turned in by County Administrator/Public Guardian John Williams, who traveled to conferences for a community college district at the same time records show he was on duty, working for the county.

A citizen complaint to the county questioned how Williams legally could turn in time cards that said he was doing county work while he was physically at conferences in San Diego, San Francisco or out-of-state.

Williams is an elected trustee of the South Orange County Community College District as well as the elected county administrator. Additionally, he was appointed Public Guardian by the Board of Supervisors. He is up for re-election in June as administrator.

Public record travel expenses for the community college trustees were posted on Dissent the Blog, coupled with public record county payroll time sheets that showed Williams on the clock for the county while traveling for the community college district.

A spokesperson for Dr. Peter Hughes, director of the county’s Internal Audit Department, said it was “premature” to discuss the review.

Williams’ lawyer, Phil Greer said the situation is “much ado about nothing.”

Said Greer: “There’s nothing there — no conflict and no contradiction.”

Greer said Williams’ county work is exempt from strict time card regulations because he is expected to work nights and weekends as well, and does that.

Last year the county grand jury twice castigated the operations of Williams’ office, according to the Orange County Register, accusing it of bloating its payroll with too many top managers while not even knowing the size of its caseload.

However, the board of supervisors decided to keep the administrator’s office as an elected position and retain Williams as public guardian.

Williams said grand jurors didn’t understand the technicalities of his staff’s work requirements.

Orange County Manager of Media Relations Howard Sutter confirmed Williams’ time sheets were referred to the Internal Audit Department earlier this month but added, “I don’t have any information to report on the status of the review by the Internal Audit.”

Public records travel expenses also were released by South Orange County Community College District.


Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.