State Attorney General Kamala Harris has officially tapped Wayne Quint, a 29-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and head of the deputies union for the last 12 years, to work as an assistant for external affairs.
Quint will retire from the Sheriff’s Department this month and Investigator Tom Dominguez will replace him as president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, according to an association release.
During his tenure, which began in February 1999, Quint pushed for approval of the “3 @ 50” retirement benefit and spent the rest of his term defending it.
The plan allows public safety officers to retire as early as age 50 with 3 percent of pay for each year worked. Critics complain that the plan allows high-ranking officers of long tenure to retire with nearly their full pay.
In April, the union prevailed in a years-long lawsuit brought by the Orange County Board of Supervisors seeking to rescind a portion of those benefits.
On Tuesday, supervisors will discuss in closed session a demand by the union that the county pay $2.5 million in legal bills incurred by the union during the case.
Dominguez will take over the union at a critical juncture. Public sector pensions are certain to remain a huge national issue when association negotiators return to the bargaining table next year to hammer out a new contract.
Dominguez is no stranger to politics, having served on the association board for the past 19 years, most recently as chairman of its political action committee.
Dominguez is the Orange County Sheriff Department’s senior bomb technician and is a widely recognized expert within the Southern California bomb disposal community.
He is also the department’s senior explosive detection canine handler and trainer. He has received more than 45 commendations during his service to the county, including the department’s Medal of Courage in 2006 for his actions during an explosive-related incident in Anaheim.
“I am looking forward to serving as president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and working hard with my colleagues on our board to ensure that the County of Orange continues to do what it can to recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers in the state of California,” Dominguez stated in the union’s news release.
— NORBERTO SANTANA, JR.