Gov. George Deukmejian named Gaddi H. Vasquez, his chief deputy appointments secretary and a former aide to then-Supervisor Bruce Nestande, to replace Nestande on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Vasquez, 32, a Republican who has never held elective office, joined the Administration in April, 1985, as Deukmejian's liaison to the Latino community. He became a deputy appointments secretary for Deukmejian in 1985 and was named chief deputy last month.
He will be the first Latino supervisor in the county's history.
Vasquez worked from 1980 through 1984 as the top aide to Nestande, who resigned from the board Jan. 21 and since has taken a job as vice president for government relations with George L. Argyros' Arnel Development Co. Nestande's name has surfaced in connection with investigations into the activities of W. Patrick Moriarity, the Anaheim fireworks magnate serving a prison sentence for political corruption.
Vasquez, who moved to Mission Viejo a week ago to become eligible for the Thursday appointment, said he was "very pleasantly surprised" when Deukmejian offered him the $58,000-a-year job on Thursday.
"I have always indicated that, while I was interested in the job, I would be willing to do whatever the governor deemed appropriate," he said. "In this instance, he determined I was the best person for the job."
Vasquez, a self-described moderate, said he expects to be sworn in within "a couple of weeks." He said he considers transportation, jail overcrowding and crime to be the top issues he will face as a supervisor.
"There are some very grave concerns about development, where it's going and how much," Vasquez said. "I intend to establish a tight network of communication with the people of south Orange County to address the issues they're concerned with."
Orange County's four supervisors took turns Thursday telephoning Vasquez and congratulating him on becoming the newest member of the Board of Supervisors. Meanwhile, Nestande praised the appointment Thursday and said, "The Hispanic community now has a new leader."
But not all parties were pleased with Deukmejian's decision. The timing of the appointment apparently took the entire Orange County legislative delegation by surprise and left at least two members of the Assembly openly disappointed and angry.
Assemblyman Ross Johnson (R-La Habra), who was supporting Fullerton Mayor Richard Ackerman for the job, said at least half a dozen members of the county's delegation had hoped to unite behind Ackerman, but Deukmejian never sought their advice.
Another Ackerman supporter--Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle (R-Huntington Beach)--said he feared Vasquez's lack of experience in elective office might come back to haunt him when he faces election in June, 1988.
"The thing that concerns me is that very few opinions from the county and from the delegation were weighed," Frizzelle said. "It seemed like the governor had made up his mind already and they didn't care that much for the opinion of the rest of us."