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By Randy Economy
Supervisor Don Knabe has decided that voters should not be allowed to elect any future Los Angeles County Assessor; instead the decision should be made by the five members of the Board of Supervisors.
On Tuesday, Knabe asked that a study be launched that addresses if the assessor should become an appointed position.
“For several years, I have been advocating that the position of Los Angeles County Assessor should be an appointed position, rather than an elected role. Regardless of the outcome of the District Attorney’s Office investigation or the Board of Supervisor’s audit of the Assessor’s office, the issues being examined reinforce my long-standing view that the constituents of Los Angeles County would be best served by an appointed Assessor,” Knabe said in a statement on Monday.
Last week, massive raids were conducted by members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office into a dozen locations associated with Los Angeles County Assessor’s office, including the Huntington Park home of current Assessor John R. Noguez, and his private office at the County Hall of Administration.
During the raids led by members of the Public Integrity Unit, employees of the Assessor’s office told Los Cerritos Community Newspaper that investigators carted off computers, cell phones, files, and boxes of evidence at several areas across Southern California and Arizona.
“The role of Assessor has a huge impact on the lives of the residents and businesses of this County. He or she impacts what is for many taxpayers their most important asset. For the county and city governments, the taxes that are generated from the funds the Assessor oversees are the primary source of revenue to support critical services,” Knabe claimed.
“In addition to the extensive experience and specialized training that is required to be the Assessor, the position also demands the highest level of integrity. There cannot be even a suggestion of external pressures or influence-peddling. A strong, reliable, non-political manager must administer this critical function in order to meet the expectations of the constituents and government entities which rely on its honest, competent and prudent oversight,” Knabe said.
The motion will direct the Chief Executive Office, in conjunction with County Counsel, to “investigate the process to amend the Los Angeles County charter to render the position of Assessor as an appointed, rather than elected, position.”
As the District Attorney’s office continues its investigation into alleged influence-peddling by L.A. County Assessor, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said “it is vital that the many important functions and duties of the County Assessor’s office be performed with the highest standard of integrity and impartiality. I encourage the District Attorney’s office to act expeditiously to expose and extinguish any undue influence or unethical dealings — to restore the public’s trust in the office as swiftly as possible.”
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