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ORANGE COUNTY IN BANKRUPTCY : Stanton Still Working on His Restructuring Plan

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County Supervisor Roger R. Stanton did not release his “white paper” on restructuring county government as planned Saturday because it was not yet complete.

Though most supervisors and other county officials took off New Year’s Eve, Stanton spent much of the afternoon in the office with several aides, conducting meetings and going over a draft of the plan. But at 3 p.m., a staffer said it would not be released Saturday as expected.

Stanton, who is the only supervisor currently being targeted for recall because of the county’s financial fiasco, said earlier in the day that if he did not finish the “white paper” Saturday it would likely be made public Monday.

In the four weeks since Orange County became the largest municipality to file bankruptcy in U.S. history, Stanton has repeatedly called for a widespread revamping of county government, including potentially changing the treasurer-tax collector into an appointed rather than elected post.

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Stanton told The Times on Friday that the “white paper” questioned whether the county administrative officer, Ernie Schneider, provided adequate oversight of the county’s financial dealings. Schneider declined Saturday to comment on the matter.

“I haven’t seen the paper. Until I have an opportunity to look at it, I would withhold the comments,” Schneider said. “He (Stanton) had talked about restructuring as a concept to be pursued. That was the extent of what I knew.”

On Friday, Stanton said the “white paper” would start “with a basic examination of everything we do.” He declined to elaborate Saturday, saying only that his plan would provide a “conceptual framework” for widespread change.

Also Saturday, Supervisor William G. Steiner said he was no longer upset about Stanton’s having drafted a “white paper” on his own, and said he plans to work with Stanton on the restructuring effort.

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“I’m comfortable that Roger is putting together a conceptual framework for restructuring,” said Steiner, who on Friday had criticized his colleague for “operating independently.”

“As we move ahead, in the months ahead, with the actual restructuring, we’re doing it together in partnership,” Steiner added. “I’m comfortable with that.”

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gaddi H. Vasquez could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Two new supervisors, Marian Bergeson and Jim Silva, are scheduled to be sworn in this week to replace retiring supervisors Harriett M. Wieder and Thomas F. Riley.

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