Vasquez Considers Police Officer Job : Employment: Former supervisor is also looking at position with Edison or working for Dole's presidential campaign, friend says.


Former Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, whose once-promising political career was tarnished by the county's bankruptcy, is considering joining the Orange Police Department as a patrol officer, officials said Thursday.

Though some city and police officials were under the impression that Vasquez had already accepted the position and would be sworn in Monday, Vasquez denied he has agreed to take the job.

"I have not come to any conclusions," said Vasquez, who has been an Orange police reserve officer for many years. "I'm still considering my options."

He declined to discuss what employment options are available to him.

Randy Smith, a county lobbyist and friend of Vasquez, said the former supervisor told him earlier this week that he was considering offers from the Police Department, Southern California Edison and the presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole, among others.

"Last time I talked to him, he still hadn't made up his mind," Smith said. "He's a very talented guy. I'm sure he could do many things."

Smith, however, said he thought Vasquez was leaning toward accepting a more lucrative position with Southern California Edison. Nonetheless, he added, he would not be surprised if Vasquez joined the Police Department, even if it did pay less.

"He considers [police work] a very high calling. He holds it in very high regard."

According to sources, Vasquez was supposed to have joined the force on Monday but never showed up. When contacted by the department's brass, Vasquez asked for a week's extension, sources said.

Interim Orange City Manager David L. Rudat said he expects Vasquez to be sworn in early next week. He added that Vasquez's reserve officer status makes him qualified for a position with the city's police, which has five vacancies.

"We didn't bend any rules for Gaddi Vasquez," he said.

Police Chief John R. Robertson declined to comment on Vasquez's status with the department other than to say "he is currently a reserve officer."

Lt. Timm Browne, the department's spokesman, said Vasquez "is a long-standing member of the department family, and is currently in a part-time position. Should he elect to change that, it would be a decision up to Gaddi."

Vasquez, 40, was the first supervisor to become a casualty of the county's Dec. 6 bankruptcy. He stepped down Sept. 27 after eight years in office, saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife and son.

Before the bankruptcy, Vasquez was one of the more prominent Latino officeholders in the state. He was often pegged as a candidate for higher office. The bankruptcy, however, put a damper on any such aspirations, political consultants have said.

But even as he prepared to leave office last month, Vasquez hinted that he might later return to public service.

Vasquez has had a long relationship with the Orange Police Department. At age 19, he became the youngest officer in the department's history and was the academy valedictorian. He left the department four years later but has remained a reserve officer.

On Thursday, Vasquez said he has been vacationing with his family and enjoying his time away from work. He said he did not know when he would decide his next career move.

"At this point, I have no final plans," he said.

Times correspondent Lesley Wright contributed to this report.

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