Assessor to take leave of absence
June 1, 2012
Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, buffeted by allegations that he gave preferential treatment to some property owners, announced today that he will take a leave of absence from his position as soon as a temporary successor can be appointed.
In a June 1 letter to the Board of Supervisors, Noguez said he is taking the voluntary leave “in the interest of restoring public confidence in the professionalism, integrity, and impartiality of the Assessor’s Office.”
“I do not take this decision lightly,” he wrote. “It is my sincere hope that the leave of absence will allow the Assessor’s Office to adhere to its mission during this important time.”
Noguez and members of his staff currently are being investigated by the D.A.’s public integrity unit. In his letter, Noguez said he and his office are cooperating with the probe.
Since the position of Chief Deputy Assessor currently is vacant, Noguez asked supervisors to designate “a highly qualified person” for the post to manage the office while Noguez is on leave. Noguez would actually make the appointment, but said in his letter that he preferred to stay out of the selection process in order to “remove any possible concerns” about his involvement.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky has introduced a motion directing the county’s Chief Executive Office to come up with candidates for the position. The motion, to be considered next week, calls for the board to discuss the candidates and recommend one of them for the job during open session.
In a statement, Yaroslavsky said Noguez made the right call in taking the leave of absence.
“Assessor Noguez’s decision to step aside allows for a new person to come in and restore order and integrity to an office that is currently shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty,” Yaroslavsky said. “His decision is in the best interest of the county, the Assessor’s Office, and the taxpayers.”