Updated at 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 1
There’s a new Los Angeles County sheriff in town Monday, along with two new county supervisors, all of whom were sworn in during ceremonies at the county Hall of Administration.
Jim McDonnell received a standing ovation as he walked into the room to take the oath of office — administered by District Attorney Jackie Lacey — as the new leader of the Sheriff’s Department.
He inherits a department beset by allegations of abuse against inmates and in the midst of negotiations with federal officials over a consent decree stemming from the mistreatment of mentally ill people in the county jails.
The Sheriff’s Department is also working to finalize jail reforms recommended in 2012, triggered by revelations of deputy-on-inmate violence.
McDonnell, formerly chief of the Long Beach Police Department and a 29- year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, replaces Interim Sheriff John Scott. Scott was appointed Jan. 30 after four-term Sheriff Lee Baca retired in the wake of multiple federal investigations into activities in the county jails.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Hilda Solis, who served in Congress and as the head of the U.S. Department of Labor, was sworn in to replace Supervisor Gloria Molina in representing the First District, which covers much of the eastern county from downtown to Claremont. Solis garnered 70 percent of the vote during June’s primary, avoiding a November runoff.
Another new member of the board, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, had a tougher race against Bobby Shriver, but the former state senator and assemblywoman ultimately pulled in 53 percent of the vote in the November runoff. She steps in for retiring Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
The county seats are non-partisan and unlikely political alliances have often formed, but the two new supervisors and those they are replacing are all registered Democrats.
From a policy perspective, the newcomers’ political track records point to some similarities with their long-serving predecessors. Kuehl, for example, has been a champion for environmental issues and worked with Yaroslavsky on conservation efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Solis, who like Molina has marked a number of firsts as a Latina woman in public office, promised during her campaign to continue reforms of the county’s child welfare system. Molina has long fought for women’s and children’s rights.
But Kuehl and Solis are almost certain to put their own stamp on the board, given the broad range of issues presented by a county with more than 10 million residents and a 2014-15 budget of $27.1 billion.
Assessor-elect Jeffrey Prang will be sworn in later today and will manage the county’s $1.2 trillion property tax roll. His swearing-in ceremony will end the county’s obligation to pay the last elected assessor, John Noguez, who is awaiting trial on corruption charges.
The board had no authority to fire Noguez, who has been on a paid leave of absence since shortly after his arrest in October 2012. That same year, voters rejected a ballot measure to change the post to an appointed, rather than elected, position.
Prang worked as a special assistant in the assessor’s office and ran on a campaign of reform.
—City News Service
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