A plan by Orange County supervisors to hire a former state prosecutor to be the director of the county’s Office of Independent Review has been scuttled. Supervisors apparently jumped gun on announcing the deal, and now are back to square one in their search.
Orange County supervisors announced Tuesday that they’ve picked Gary Schons, a prosecutor with decades of experience investigating public corruption in Southern California, to head the county’s Office of Independent Review.
For the past nine months, Orange County’s watchdog agency has been left without a director. But that could change with a possible vote Tuesday by county supervisors to appoint the new head of the Office of Independent Review.
Amid an ongoing scandal over misuse of jailhouse informants, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens received unanimous approval from county supervisors to hire a “constitutional policing” advisor who would report directly to her.
With the head of the county’s Office of Independent Review abruptly resigning last week, and problems ranging from a “failure of leadership” in the DA’s office to jailbreaks on Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ watch, bringing in federal investigators might be the only prudent thing to do.
The proposal expands the Office of Independent Review’s purview, which is now limited to the Sheriff’s, Department to also include the District Attorney’s office, Probation Department, Public Defender’s office, and Social Services Agency.
Tony Rackauckas has gone public with his opposition to an effort to expand county supervisors’ oversight of his office. Whether there’s enough support for the expansion should be revealed during today’s supervisors meeting.
Meeting focused on whether the purview of the Office of Independent Review, which is currently limited to the Sheriff’s Department, should also include the District Attorney and other agencies related to law enforcement.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors was planning to show Office of Independent Review head Steve Connolly the door by the end of this month. But the board is now scheduled to give him another four months.