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Zev Yaroslavsky: Alleged misconduct in LA assessor's office a 'tragic situation'

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The person who leads the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office in John Noguez’s absence will have to be “tough enough to restore order and integrity to an office that has a cloud over it,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KPCC today.

The Board of Supervisors will consider a motion at its meeting on Wednesday that instructs the chief executive officer to recommend one or more candidates to be the chief deputy assessor. That person will then be placed in charge of the office while Noguez is on leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the district attorney.

“This is a tragic situation that we’re facing in that office,” said Yaroslavsky, chair of the board.

Without a doubt, the chief deputy assessor must come from outside of the office, he said. 

The candidate will be, “somebody whose got no entanglements with any of the people in the management of that office and someone who can turn the department, the Office of the Assessor, around. Who can hire and fire people and who is willing to make the tough choices to identify the people who are contaminating the office from an integrity point of view and get rid of them,” Yaroslavsky said.

Noguez announced today he will take a leave of absence while the District Attorney's Office continues to look into allegations that assessed values were lowered on properties belonging to campaign contributors. 

District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has called for Noguez to step down, described today's news "a step in the right direction."

"It will have no impact on the criminal investigation being conducted by this office. The investigation is ongoing, multi-faceted and active," he said in a statement. 

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