Tonight's secret ballot law enforcement election (previously discussed in detail HERE) recorded a 60 percent turnout and good news for both Mike Major, acting chief of the Orange County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation, and Don Blankenship (pictured), the unit's longtime boss who took a sudden leave of absence two months ago.
The results, posted on the "members only" section of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCSD) website tonight, show that Major was overwhelmingly favored by DA investigators to lead the bureau in Blankenship's absence. Commander Jeff McLaughlin placed second followed by Doug Kennedy.
Nearly 80 percent of those voting also hope that Blankenship, who says he left his job temporarily in March to deal with a medical condition, will return to his post.
In a third question, more than 81 percent of voting DA investigators want their next official chief to come from inside the office.
The vote, which has been seen as a union power play for Blankenship by some, is advisory and has no legal ramifications for DA Tony Rackauckas, who can select who he wants to be his lead prosecution investigator. Prior to the vote today, the DA said he has been impressed by Major's job performance.
It's bizarre that the deputy union would suggest the possibility of Blankenship's return. Rackauckas has already formally bid him adieu. Also, in March--a week after the Weekly broke news of his departure, the ex-chief directed mainstream media inquiries to John Barnett, the prominent criminal defense lawyer. Barnett said at the time that his client would not resume his duties.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly