William Fujioka is retiring as CEO of Los Angeles County at the end of November 2014.
By Christina Villacorte, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 06/26/14, 2:01 PM PDT | Updated: 18 hrs ago
Los Angeles County CEO William Fujioka, credited with helping the county emerge virtually unscathed from the Great Recession while many other local governments teetered on bankruptcy, announced Thursday he will retire at the end of November.
The county has had stable leadership in place for many years, so Fujioka’s leaving adds to an unprecedented shake-up at its highest echelons of both elected and appointed officials. After November, the county will have two new supervisors, a new sheriff, assessor, legal counsel and public health director, and now a new chief executive officer.
In a letter to his staff, the 61-year-old Fujioka wrote that when the board appointed him in 2007, he intended to stay only five years.
“However, when our county was faced with the devastating impact of the recent recession, I felt that it was important that I stay to help weather the storm,” Fujioka wrote. “Now that we have strong signs of financial stability and economic growth, it’s time to move on to the next adventure.”
“From my perspective, he’s going to be very difficult to replace,” Supervisor Don Knabe said. “His legacy is that we went through some of the most difficult economic times in history, and we did it without layoffs or furloughs, and while earning three credit rating increases over the last 20 months.”
“He’s done his job, and done it with distinction,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. “There’s never a good time to leave, but he can have a clear conscience that he partnered with the board to navigate through the Great Recession without a lot of tumult.”
Fujioka, whose annual salary is $355,584 — second highest among the county’s department heads — will leave just before voter-imposed term limits revamp the board, to whom he reports directly. Fujioka has been in public service for 40 years, including seven as the city of Los Angeles’ chief administrative officer immediately prior to his county post.
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