L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has become increasingly involved in decisions… (Christina House / For The…)
In a closely divided vote, the board that oversees retirement benefits for Los Angeles police officers and firefighters on Thursday chose a former official with the U.S. Department of Interior as its new top executive.
The board voted 5-4 to hire Ray Joseph to lead the Fire and Police Pensions retirement system. Joseph spent a year serving as executive director for the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, overseeing Indian trust assets, according to his resume.
All five board members who voted for Joseph were appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, while the four who dissented represent current and retired public safety employees, city officials said. The vote came one week after Villaraigosa sent the board a letter rejecting their choice of William Raggio, who has been running the agency on a temporary basis.
The board voted 5-4 for Raggio last month, with one Villaraigosa appointee, Greg Lippe, siding with the employee representatives.
The mayor has vetoed Raggio’s nomination twice in the last year. He has not given specific reasons for doing so.
Villaraigosa has been increasingly involved in decisions related to the city’s pension agencies as retirement costs consume a greater share of the city’s budget.
Raggio and Joseph were among three finalists for the post. The third was Solange Brooks, a portfolio manager at the California State Teachers Retirement System, or CalSTRS.
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