Los Angeles' top financial official says he's enrolled in treatment after DUI arrest
The top financial officer for Los Angeles on Sunday announced he has enrolled in an alcohol treatment center just days after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, 40, issued a statement saying he had checked into the undisclosed program on Saturday.
"I do not know how long this stage of my journey will be. I apologize to my family, friends, the Mayor, City Council, CAO staff, and the entire city family for my irresponsible behavior," Santana said in a statement. “The outpouring of support and prayer has helped carry my family and me during this difficult time."
Santana was arrested by the California Highway Patrol in Covina at 12:15 a.m. Friday after he attended a charity roast for L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley at the downtown J.W. Marriott hotel at L.A. Live. Santana lives in Claremont.
A CHP officer made the traffic stop after observing Santana’s car traveling at high speed on a surface street. He was taken into custody after failing a field sobriety test, a CHP spokesman said. On Friday morning, he informed the mayor of his arrest and a few hours later issued a public apology.
Santana said that while he is undergoing treatment his top assistant, Ray Ciranna, will be the acting City Administrative Officer. Ciranna served as interim City Administrative Officer for nearly a year before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Santana to the post last summer.
Villaraigosa spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said she did not know when Santana would return.
Since he took the job last year, Santana has been given the difficult task of addressing the city’s financial crisis. L.A. currently is grappling with a $212-million budget gap, expected to more than double in the next budget year. The mayor and council have authorized the elimination of 4,000 city positions to help close the gap.
Debate on the upcoming 2010-2011 budget officially will begin in late April when Villaraigosa releases his proposed budget.
-- Phil Willon at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Don Bartletti / L.A. Times