IRVINE — Acting quickly to turn the page on a scandal that has dominated Orange County government for months, Gov. Pete Wilson on Wednesday appointed child advocate and Orange City Councilman William G. Steiner to succeed Supervisor Don R. Roth, who resigned amid allegations of influence-peddling.
Steiner, the executive director of the Orangewood Children's Foundation, pledged to begin work immediately to establish a county children's agenda, to help solve mounting fiscal problems and to put to rest the government ethics questions that led to a criminal investigation of his predecessor.
"Bill just dominated the field," Wilson said after his announcement, delivered at a news conference at the Lakeshore Towers. "He stood head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd."
When he is sworn in March 15, Steiner will represent more than 482,000 people in northern Orange County's 4th Supervisorial District, centered in Anaheim. He will become the odds-on favorite for election to the seat next year.
Steiner fills the seat left vacant by the resignation Monday of Roth, who said he could no longer serve the county because of a 10-month investigation by the district attorney's office of allegations that he traded political favors for thousands of dollars in unreported gifts from local business people. Roth has denied criminal wrongdoing.
Steiner had been rumored for days as the clear favorite for the job. His appointment allowed Wilson to place a moderate Republican on the board who has solid credentials in public service.
The choice drew widespread praise in government, business, and social service circles. But some officials have voiced concern over the apparent lack of women and minorities considered for the job.