Los Angeles County reshuffles top managers

New Los Angeles County leadership reshuffles top managers

Los Angeles County officials Wednesday completed a major reorganization in the top tier of management, moving some upper officials out of the county's chief executive office and bringing others into newly created positions.

County leadership has been in flux over the last two months as two new members joined the Board of Supervisors following November's election and former Chief Exceutive Officer William T Fujioka retired.

Fujioka was replaced briefly by his former second-in-command, Brence Culp, as interim chief executive. But the board removed her and placed Sachi Hamai, who had been executive officer to the board and the clerk responsible for meeting agendas and administrative tasks, in the interim role.

Hamai announced last week that she would restructure the office, eliminating the five deputy chief executive positions that had overseen different areas of county operations, including public safety, health and children's services and the chief deputy position previously held by Culp. 

Instead, a chief operating officer will oversee budgets, capital projects and employee relations, while other newly created executive positions will focus on high-priority issues. One will deal with issues in the Sheriff's Department, one with the impending consolidation of three county health departments into one agency, and one will act as interim head of the newly created Office of Child Protection.

Hamai said in a memo to staff Wednesday that Jim Jones, head of the county's Internal Services Department, would take over the chief operating officer position.

Fesia Davenport, chief deputy director in the Department of Children and Family Services, will head the child protection office; Culp will oversee sheriff's issues; and Christina Ghaly, a deputy director in the health services department, will oversee the consolidation effort.

County spokesman Dave Sommers said last week that no employees were fired as a result of the reorganization, but "some members of the CEO executive team were asked to step into different roles within other county departments."

"While the CEO is moving structurally to meet some of the county’s major emerging needs through key personnel changes, the deputy CEOs have unique experience, leadership and organizational understandings of the county which will continue to be valuable helping departments respond to new and ongoing challenges," he said in an emailed statement.

Two of the supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael D. Antonovich, have expressed a desire to scale back the authority of the chief executive position, giving board members more direct control over county departments.

Follow Abby Sewell on Twitter at @sewella for more county news.

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