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Supervisors under pressure to hire county executive

July 04, 2007|Jack Leonard | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County supervisors are planning the latest round of candidate interviews next week in their search for a top manager and could choose the new executive by the end of the month, officials said Tuesday.

David E. Janssen, the county's retiring chief executive, has told the Board of Supervisors that he does not plan to return to the job after his two-week vacation to Canada and New Hampshire, scheduled to begin July 18.

"I'm hopeful and optimistic," he said in an interview Tuesday. "They're interviewing and they've got good candidates and they're capable of selecting one, so I'm hopeful."

Janssen had planned to retire at the start of 2007 but has spent six months working for the county on a contract while the search for a replacement continued.

The hunt has been a difficult one. Two candidates have turned down the job. In January, Sandra Vargas, a county executive from the Minneapolis area, opted out to run a charitable foundation there. Two weeks later, Orange County's chief executive, Thomas G. Mauk, embarrassed Los Angeles County officials by first agreeing to take the job and then bowing out a day after his appointment was announced.

Janssen, who has held the top management post for 11 years, said the next round of interviews would begin Tuesday. A candidate could be selected that day. If not, Janssen said, he hopes one will be chosen while he is on vacation with friends.

The county has traditionally released the names and resumes of finalists for major department head positions, but Janssen declined to name the candidates scheduled for interviews or say how many there are.

"It's going to be totally confidential ... so that we don't lose any candidates," he said.

jack.leonard@latimes.com

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