The odd case of Orange County Public Administrator has been settled again. As you may remember, John Williams was accused of violating the public trust by abusing his powers as Public Guardian and Public Administrator. One of the two positions was not elected and he was thereby thrown out of office by the Board of Supervisors. The other was elected and thereby couldn’t be drummed off of the public payroll. Instead, he agreed to resign his office on January 23.
However, on the day his resignation came into effect, Williams showed up at his office. The next day, the locks were changed as the Supervisors and County claimed they were simply enforcing an already agreed upon resignation.
However, Williams sued. That case has been settled – with prejudice – meaning that the affair is finally over.
Questions remain, however, as to what it took to settle the case: was it more money by the county or simply a staring contest where Williams was the first to blink?
All that is known is that Williams will honor the terms of his original resignation. Those terms included one year of salary for both his role as Public Administrator and the full salary due to the Public Guardian, even though those duties were transferred to an appointed employee long ago. The agreement also leaves open the possibility that Williams will be retained as a consultant during a period of transition.
The original resignation, which was tendered in March of 2011, was reaffirmed by a release sent by the County of Orange.
“Mr. John Williams has agreed to honor the original terms of his previous agreement to resign from the position of Public Administrator,” the release stated. “Mr. Williams’ resignation was effective on January 23, 2012.”
The current public guardian will continue to administer the duties of the Public Administrator,” said Howard Sutter, who handles media relations for the County of Orange’s Chief Executive Office. “The Board of Supervisors is considering bringing a measure before the people to determine whether the Public Administrator office should continue to be elected or should be appointed.”
That measure would appear on the June ballot.