Politics

Los Angeles County budget czar Bill Fujioka announces November retirement

File: Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka explains his proposed 2011-2012 budget to a reporter at a news briefing at the Hall of Administration.
File: Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka explains his proposed 2011-2012 budget to a reporter at a news briefing at the Hall of Administration.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

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William Fujioka, L.A. County's chief executive, will retire in November, he announced Thursday. The move comes at a time of uncharacteristic change in L.A. County government.

Fujioka took office in 2007 as the county's first CEO. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors created the position as an expansion of what had been its administrative office to better manage the county's approximately $23 billion budget and 100,000 employees.

Soon after Fujioka started the job, the recession hit, and the CEO was forced to dip into the county's reserve funds nearly every year. Unlike many local governments, however, L.A. County avoided layoffs and mandatory furloughs.

The economic picture finally improved last year.

In a statement, Fujioka said he can now retire confident that the county's budget is in the black.

"When our County was faced with the devastating impact of the recent recession, I felt that it was important that I stay to help weather the storm," he said. "Now that we have strong signs of financial stability and economic growth, it’s time to move on to the next adventure."

Fujioka's tweet

Fujioka's retirement coincides with general upheaval in the traditionally stable L.A. County government. Voters elected a new supervisor earlier this month and will choose another, along with a new county sheriff, in the fall.

The retirement is effective in November, which should, Fujioka said, give the Board of Supervisors plenty of time to find his replacement.

This story has been updated.