On June 19th the Board of Supervisors met to “nominate” a temporary replacement for the beleaguered LA County Assessor John Noguez who is currently under investigation by the LA County District Attorney. Supposedly this discussion and action was taken under item 71 of the posted June 19th agenda, so imagine the surprise of many of the Board watchers to learn through our local papers that no only had they nominated Santos Kreimann as Chief Deputy Assessor, but appointed him as well.
Amazingly when I confronted the Board with the probability that the action they took on June 19th may have violated the Brown Act, I was first informed that no violation occurred because they had announced their action on June 19th. Today, they tried to back step even further by providing me with a copy of the SOP 06-19 for June 19 that reports the nomination, but no appointment of, Kreimann. However, this doesn’t explain how two separate newspapers reported that Kreimann had been appointed, not just nominated. To further support the argument for the Board having appointed not nominated Kreimann was the reporting that Noguez had on June 19th, after the appointment of Kreimann, gone of indefinite paid leave.
To further confuse matters I asked a member of the DA’s staff that was present at today’s (07/03) Board meeting about the action that the Board had taken and learned that this wasn’t the Board’s responsibility – which I guess was to explain why Mr. William T. Fujioka’s very hands and involvement in this whole matter, going so far as to not only recommend Kreimann to the Board, but to call Kreimann at home on a Saturday and “beg” him to take the job. You doubt this then just read this report from the Los Cerritos Newspaper Group/Hews Media Group.
So was there a Brown Act violation? I would argue yes. When did the alleged violation occurred is the question. Was it on June 19th when the press was informed that Kreimann had been appointed? Was it as a member of the DA’s office contends when the Board took action on an item not in their purview? I would argue that it is the Supervisor’s sole responsibility, not Fujioka to nominate and appoint the temporary replacement for an elective office. Fujioka may act like the sixth supervisor, but he’s neither elected by the people of LA County nor answerable to them since he’s the hired gun of the Board of Supervisors. Additionally, I’d like to know how many other individuals were considered for this temporary assignment? Because from all the materials presented it would appear that the Board never considered anyone other than Kreimann, yet another “sole-vendor” contract the favorite tool of the Board.