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Molina demands action over audit faulting top L.A. County executive

October 26, 2009 |  8:08 pm

L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina said Monday that “swift and decisive action” would be taken against the county’s second-highest ranking employee after auditors found that she improperly helped her son-in-law obtain a county job that was “overcompensated” by nearly $1,000 a month.

Sharon Harper "overrode rules that everyone needs to respect, including myself. No one is above them,” Molina said. “The implications of what she did are very, very significant to our ability to manage the county.”

Molina said she did not know what type of discipline would be imposed on Harper, but she said County Chief Executive William T Fujioka promised in a telephone conversation Monday to move quickly. Fujioka said in an interview with The Times that Harper continued to be his chief deputy Monday as he pursued his own investigation of the allegations substantiated by Auditor Controller Wendy Watanabe. 

It has been six weeks since Fujioka received Watanabe’s detailed report concluding that his top deputy 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 she helped to arrange his hiring into a more demanding job at the Department of Health Services, where he reported to work for only a few hours before receiving a “lateral transfer” to a Fire Department position that should have paid $995 less every month. The extra pay represented 25% of his paycheck.

--Garrett Therolf

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