LA County Board of Supervisors Remove Sheriff Villanueva as Head of Emergency Operations

AP News
March 31, 2020 - 11:04 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday removed the sheriff as head of the county's emergency operations - the latest move in a longstanding feud that has escalated amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva blasted the board's decision, accusing the supervisors of "a silent coup" and "groupthink."

Villanueva and the board have fought repeatedly since his 2018 election, including over hiring and oversight.

The legislation, among other changes, makes the county's chief executive officer responsible for emergency and disaster operations.

The sheriff retains control over law enforcement activities.

Villanueva has said the change is retaliation for his previous attempts to close gun shops during the stay-at-home order - a move the sheriff has since reversed.

But supervisors say the legislation has been in the works for months after a report on a disastrous 2018 wildfire recommending changing the structure of emergency operations during major events.

The proposal was initially on the board's agenda for its March 17 meeting - which was canceled after a state limit on large gatherings.

The board unanimously approved it Tuesday.