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O.C. supervisors may choose new sheriff Tuesday

Background checks on the two finalists could be done by Monday.

June 06, 2008|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

The Orange County Board of Supervisors will very likely select the county's next sheriff at its meeting Tuesday, a week earlier than anticipated, officials said.

John Moorlach, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said he learned Thursday that background checks on the two finalists probably would be completed by Monday, giving supervisors enough time to make their decision at the meeting.

The two finalists, selected this week, are Sandra Hutchens, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department division chief, and Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters.

The winning candidate will inherit a budget of more than $700 million, more than 4,000 employees and the task of leading a department tarnished by allegations of corruption, cronyism, mismanagement and other embarrassments.

Third-term Sheriff Michael S. Carona resigned in January to concentrate on his upcoming federal trial on corruption charges.

The Board of Supervisors is selecting his successor.

Hutchens or Walters will serve the remaining 2 1/2 years of Carona's term and have the option to run for a new four-year term in 2010.

"We were told this morning we should get the background checks Monday afternoon, and we may be able to vote on Tuesday," Moorlach said. "I'd be more inclined to take care of it on Tuesday than to wait a week."

Assistant Sheriff Jack Anderson has been serving as interim sheriff since January. Anderson asked for the board's endorsement but was not chosen as a finalist.

Wayne Quint, president of the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, said the department needed a new sheriff as soon as possible.

"I think it's great news. We need a sheriff, and since we know that acting Sheriff Jack Anderson is not one of the finalists, the organization needs a leader as soon as possible," he said.

"We do look forward to working with whomever the board selects. Either selection will be great for the department."

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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