Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he had hoped the state and county could work out a compromise and had been disappointed by the interactions so far. "The attorney-client privilege is sacrosanct," he said, "but not every confidential document the state auditors wanted was necessarily privileged."
"Both sides took an all-or-nothing legal position. That was regrettable," he said, "because the documents would show how extensively the county investigates to ascertain the circumstances surrounding a child's death, and how to be more proactive in preventing such deaths in the future."
Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich, Don Knabe, Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
But aides to the supervisors said the elected leaders worried that auditors might publish all or some of the otherwise confidential documents in their resulting public report.
In communications with county officials, Reilly said that would not be a problem.
"In the course of our ongoing discussions, we have advised repeatedly that, just as it is a misdemeanor for county employees to refuse the bureau access to confidential information, it is a misdemeanor for any bureau employee to release it," Reilly said.