Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Mike Roos (D-Los Angeles) said Tuesday that he is considering quitting the Legislature to accept a high-salaried job heading a group seeking to improve the quality of Los Angeles schools.
“I am considering it,” Roos told The Times, confirming a rumor that has been circulating in the state Capitol for the past several weeks.
If he accepts the position, Roos would become executive director of a recently formed, privately funded group made up of representatives from community, business and labor organizations, Roos said. It will study and recommend ways to overhaul and improve the trouble-plagued Los Angeles Unified School District, he said.
The position would give Roos a more visible local power base from which to run for mayor of Los Angeles, which he has indicated he would like to do. Roos is a close ally of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and a member of a tight inner circle that advises Brown on policy matters.
Asked about the job, Roos said, “I received an offer last June on a completely separate job outside of the Legislature having to do with the development of downtown Los Angeles.
“I considered it and ultimately decided that I wanted to stay in the Legislature. Now a new opportunity has been extended to me. You are right on the job. It’s in the talking stage and I am considering it,” he said.
Roos said he has no timetable for making his decision on whether to accept the new position. He added that he has talked to Speaker Brown about the possibility of leaving the lower house.
But several Capitol sources who asked not to be identified said the job is all but a sure thing. One of the sources familiar with the offer said negotiations are complete and Roos has accepted the $200,000-a-year position.
“It’s a done deal,” the source said. "(He) asked for a three-year contract and they agreed to a one-year renewable contract.”
A full-time legislator, Roos, first elected in June, 1977, has been the Speaker Pro Tem since Dec. 1, 1986, which essentially means that he presides over the Assembly most of the time. He previously served as Assembly majority floor leader.
In the 1980s, it was reported that Roos was involved with fireworks magnate W. Patrick Moriarty, who was convicted on corruption charges in January, 1986. It was disclosed that Roos made a $50,000 profit on a Moriarty condominium project at the same time that Roos was pushing a bill helpful to Moriarty’s fireworks firm, but no charges were brought against Roos.