Public Administrator/Public Guardian John Williams (Ret.) has a problem letting go and saying goodbye. Last year Williams, under a cloud of allegations of mismanagement and possible recall campaign, sent a letter to Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell announcing his resignation and retirement from his elected position.
His letter was brief and to the point:
It is my intention to retire as Public Administrator-Public Guardian on January 23,2012. In the interim, it is my intention and desire to work with the Board and CEO to facilitate the changes and modifications to the structure of the office contemplated by the Board of Supervisors.
What a difference a year makes.
Voice of OC first reported that Williams was digging in his heals refusing, like a stubborn mule, to honor his written resignation. The Board of Supervisors isn’t budging either. Having paid Williams his full salary for the past year to do virtually nothing, they’ve changed the locks to his old office on Tuesday afternoon. [More Voice of OC coverage here.]
With the same ineptitude he demonstrated in his elected position, Williams figures he can change his mind and rescind his resignation. The County has a different perspective. In a letter to Williams, County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos wrote:
“(T)he purported oral notice to the CEO and to me via your counsel that you desire to rescind your nine-month old resignation, is not effective.”
Williams was elected in 2002 as Public Administrator for the County and the Board combined the position with that of the Public Guardian and Williams was reelected to the combined position in 2006. Last year, the Board stripped Williams of his role as Public Guardian, which led to Williams’ resignation/retirement. Chrisos writes in his letter to Williams:
“(1) The Board allowed you tor remain as the Public Administrator for a one year period following the beginning of your term of office, which commenced in January 2011, at your full salary for both Public Administrator and Public Guardian, even though the Board had the power to reduce your salary when it removed you as Public Guardian; (2) The Board would not publicly release the highly critical report of your performance prepared for the Board by Special Counsel, Michael Colantuono; (3) The Board discussed with the CEO the option for the CEO to, within his authority, retain you as a consultant to the County for transition purposes.”
Williams attorney Phil Greer according to the OC Register story claims:
Williams never formally resigned or retired, Greer said Wednesday. Williams’ letter to Campbell indicated merely that “he was considering retiring around the first of the year,” Greer said.
Williams has filed suit against the County to keep his job. There will be a hearing in Superior Court on Monday morning regarding his request for a writ of mandate ordering the county to restore him to his elected position.
Ladies and Gentlemen; Back in Santa Ana for his farewell performance, the incredible John Williams.