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Sheriff's contract with cities approved

August 25, 2009 |  4:38 pm

Los Angeles County Supervisors today unanimously approved a new contract with 40 cities that pay the Sheriff's Department to patrol their streets, agreeing to split the costs of any future claims against deputies convicted of sexual assault.

The association that represents the cities had demanded changes to their contract after supervisors used the cities’ liability trust fund to pay $5.6 million in claims against former Deputy Gabriel Gonzalez, convicted in 2006 of raping three women while on duty in the Compton area.

Last spring, the association appealed to the county to recoup the payout and threatened to sue, arguing that it violated the terms of their contract. The dispute over who should be held liable when an on-duty sheriff’s deputy commits serious misconduct hampered contract negotiations for months.

“This was a compromise in lieu of going to court,” said Anna Pembedjian, Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s justice deputy.

Sam Olivito, executive director of the Paramount-based California Contract Cities Assn., called the compromise "satisfactory" even though they will not recover the money paid out over the Gonzalez case.

"We believe that’s the best thing for everybody," he said of the decision to split the cost of future payouts.

The new contract takes effect Sept. 1.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske reporting from the County Hall of Administration

Related: L.A. County, cities clash over liability issues

Supervisors' letter approving new agreement