Los Angeles County's second-highest-ranking employee was removed from her position, less than two weeks after The Times reported that county auditors found that she had improperly helped her son-in-law obtain a county job that was "overcompensated" by nearly $1,000 a month.
Sharon Harper, a veteran L.A. County manager, was the top deputy to the county's chief executive, William T Fujioka.
"She is no longer a member of my office," Fujioka said Wednesday.
Under the county's civil service rules, Harper will reclaim her former position in the Sheriff's Department, where she will be part of the management staff. The demotion carries a significant cut in pay and responsibility, a county official familiar with the situation told The Times.
The audit by county Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe concluded that Harper had a "clear conflict of interest" when she helped to create a position in the Los Angeles County Fire Department for Ed'Ward Rhone without submitting documents to supervisors showing that the job was needed.
The report also found that Harper helped to arrange Rhone's hiring into a more demanding job at the Department of Health Services, where he reported to work for only a few hours before a "lateral transfer" to a Fire Department position that should have paid $995 less a month. The extra pay represented 25% of his paycheck.