As expected, county Treasurer-Tax Collector Richard B. Dixon was chosen Tuesday to become Los Angeles County's chief administrative officer, succeeding James C. Hankla.
After several hours of interviewing other candidates, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Dixon, 49, for the top administrative post at a salary of $112,000.
Dixon, who began 28 years of county service working as a court aide at $303 a month, told the board after the announcement that he was "grateful, somewhat awe-struck and very excited."
Later, the pipe-smoking civil service veteran told reporters that the two greatest needs of the county are to develop a larger fund that can be spent at the discretion of supervisors and to "improve the level of county service by improving the county staff."
Although a majority of the five-member board was ready to name Dixon last week, Supervisor Ed Edelman sought a delay so that others might have a chance to be interviewed. Among those interviewed Tuesday were Beaches and Harbors Department chief Ted Reed, Los Angeles Superior Court executive officer Frank Zolin, assistant chief administrative officers Ed Watson and Bill Kreger, Public Administrator Gordon Treharne and David Lund of the community development department.
Reed and Zolin, like Dixon, lost to Hankla in 1984 when Hankla was selected to succeed Harry Hufford as administrative officer.
Daniel Lopez, New Mexico's finance department chief, also interviewed for the post, county sources said.
Dixon will take over March 1 for Hankla, who will leave the county after two years as administrative officer to become Long Beach city manager.
Treasurer-tax collector since 1984, Dixon also spent six years as head of the administrative officer's budget division.