Mike Antonovich

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich brought forward a proposal to remove the county’s acting chief executive Tuesday. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

By Abby Sewell
December 2, 2014

At their first meeting following a major election turnover, the new Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors removed the county’s acting chief executive and appointed a new one.

Two new supervisors, Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, were sworn in Monday to replace retiring Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky. They joined the three remaining supervisors — Michael D. Antonovich, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe — in voting to make the change.

Since June, when longtime chief executive William T Fujioka announced that he would also be retiring this week, the supervisors have been searching for a permanent replacement. In the meantime, they appointed Fujioka’s second-in-command, Brence Culp, to serve as acting CEO. Culp also indicated that she would be interested in the permanent position.

In a closed-door meeting Tuesday, during which they were to discuss how to go about appointing a permanent CEO, the supervisors voted unanimously to approve a proposal by Antonovich to replace Culp with Sachi Hamai, who has been executive officer to the board and the clerk responsible for meeting agendas and administrative tasks.

The supervisors also asked the county’s top attorney to draft a policy that would bar appointing anyone to an acting department head position who is also in the running for the permanent CEO post.

“This is the best way to ensure a level playing field in the recruitment and selection of the [CEO] position and to avoid a chilling effect on qualified candidates from applying for the position,” Antonovich — the current board chairman — said in his motion.

In an interview, Solis said she was concerned that having an insider in the acting position while also in the running for the permanent CEO job might discourage other candidates.

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