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OC Supervisors put leash on sheriff over reorg plan

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens

Today the Orange County Board of Supervisors slammed Sheriff Sandra Hutchens over her reorganization plan announced last Friday. In that plan Sheriff Hutchens lays off 23 non-sworn personnel, while at the same time promoting 15 managers to fill vacancies in administrative ranks resulting from previous layoffs and retirements.

In addition, Hutchens laid off Assistant Sheriff Michael Hillman who will receive about $60,000 in severance pay for his 17 months of service. The other laid off employees, with as much as 8 years county service, get nothing. In addition, Hutchens has come under fire from the Orange County Employees Association for laying off staff while continuing to employee retired personnel as extra help. These people are collecting their pensions, while using up valuble resources that could fund the positions of laid off employees.

From Jeniffer Muir’s report over on Total Buzz:

County Chairwoman Janet Nguyen laid into Sheriff Sandra Hutchens this morning for her plan to reorganize her department, saying Hutchens temporarily promoted managers to circumvent the board’s scrutiny and implying that the plan opens the county to legal challenges.

Other county supervisors echoed Nguyen’s concerns and said the sheriff should have kept them better informed of her plans.

Supervisors voted unanimously to freeze all temporary promotions within the department and ticked off a list of potential issues for county staff to investigate.

“Law enforcement  should not feel they can operate on a different level than other departments,” Nguyen said. “I want to make sure we work together as a county … Going forward, I for one, want to inform the public that I will not allow this sort of antagonistic attitude toward the board to continue. ”

Read Muir’s complete report here.