Two members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors will be sworn in Monday, bringing a new — and potentially fleeting — sense of unity and cohesion to the top levels of the county Hall of Administration.
At 10 a.m. on the front lawn of the Old County Courthouse in downtown Santa Ana, Republican Todd Spitzer will officially return to the 3rd District seat that he left nearly a decade ago for the state Legislature, where he would establish himself as a vocal victims advocate until being termed out last year.
Supervisor Janet Nguyen also will be sworn in for a second term in the 1st District, having established herself firmly as the preeminent Republican political player in central Orange County, a far cry from the tenuous grasp on office she held during a series of special elections and recounts in 2006.
While both Spitzer and Nguyen are being sworn in this morning as county supervisors, there are indications that other elective offices could be in their immediate futures.
Spitzer is a strong contender in many political circles to challenge District Attorney Tony Rackauckas when he is up for re-election next year. Nguyen is the Republican frontrunner for the 34th district state Senate seat, which serves the central county and is now held by Democrat Lou Correa.
Both join a county Board of Supervisors in flux.
Chairman John Moorlach is entering the final two years of his term and is expected by many to prepare a run for the vacant county auditor-controller seat in 2014.
Supervisor Pat Bates is expected to run for state Senate as she also finishes a second term in 2014.
Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who at one point considered a congressional run, seems poised to become chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Although there is an unspoken tradition that vice chairmen, which Nelson was in 2012, take over as chairman as part of the new year’s first business on the board, the Orange County Register has reported that Nguyen is pushing to have Spitzer take over as chairman.
Meanwhile, a host of countywide elective offices, such as the clerk-recorder, public administrator and auditor-controller, are vacant with supervisors preparing to make interim appointments until the next scheduled election.
Supervisors have set a Jan. 15 deadline for applications to fill one of the three vacant countywide elected positions.
Supervisors are also in the midst of replacing top-level executives inside the county bureaucracy, including a replacement for ousted County CEO Tom Mauk, who left last year in the wake of the sex crimes scandal involving county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante.
Questions about how Bustamante was able to have so many inappropriate relationships have rocked the county government and forced a rethinking of how employee complaints over sexual harassment are handled amidst a rising tide of threatened lawsuits and ongoing internal investigations.
In addition, several reorganizations of key central functions, such as human resources, procurement and real estate management are also under way.