Los Angeles County Decides to Keep Jailed Assessor in Office, Pay His $197,000 Salary
Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez has been in jail since mid-October because a campaign fundraiser allegedly bribed him to lower property taxes for his individual clients, but the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday decided they will not remove him from office and continue paying his $197,000 annual salary, which has already increased by $5,000 since July due to a cost-of-living adjustment.
Noguez has not worked since June when, according to the Los Angeles Times, “he placed himself on paid leave of absence to concentrate on preparing a legal defense to the corruption allegations swirling around him.”
According to the Times, “elected officials in California typically can't be removed from office unless they are convicted of a job-related crime or voted out in a recall.” And Los County officials were reluctant on Tuesday to invoke a rarely used “provision that would have allowed them to remove Noguez for failing to perform his duties for three consecutive months.”
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said until a court convicts Noguez of a crime, he should be allowed to stay on as assessor even though he cannot perform his duties while in jail because Noguez he has been "unable to make his $1.16-million bail.”
Antonovich said he personally believed that "Noguez has not abandoned his job by virtue of choice — he's been incarcerated for allegations of corruption and until a court of law convicts him of a crime, he's still the assessor of Los Angeles County."
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he did not expect the Board to act until next year as they consult with attorneys.