Pains, Past and Future

Advising Sheriff Mike Carona to suspend his election rival Lt. Bill Hunt may turn out not to have been a brilliant career move for attorney Martin Mayer. As the Los Angeles Times reports:

Orange County supervisors decided Wednesday to review their hiring of the lawyer who advised Sheriff Michael S. Carona that he could suspend his chief political opponent from the department.

At the end of a two-day hearing on the county's next budget, Supervisor Chris Norby asked that the board review the contract, including how much Martin J. Mayer had been paid. County Counsel Benjamin P. DeMayo told the supervisors the contract could be canceled immediately.

The issue is scheduled for Tuesday's board meeting.

Turns out that back when the Board of Supervisors awarded Mayer's firm a 100,000/one year contract to work on "peace officer personnel matters" for the county, they "took pains at the time to note that the county, not the sheriff, was Mayer's client", which may have lead some of them to believe that he'd be reporting to the Board, not working as the sheriff's personal adviser. Perhaps Mayer's confusion came from the fact that it Carona who pressed the board give his firm the contract in the first place.

Carona first asked the board last June to retain Fullerton-based Jones & Mayer to assist with issues stemming from a state board's decision to make 56 reserve deputies ineligible for service, but supervisors balked.

That issue was resolved by the time they relented in December, awarding the contract for legal assistance with "peace officer personnel matters."

Supervisors took pains at the time to note that the county, not the sheriff, was Mayer's client. But they received no briefings from Mayer and learned only last week that his work focused, at least in part, on Carona's chief opponent in the June 6 election.

Whether the "pains" the Board of Supervisors took back in December will mean any pain for Mayer or Carona, we'll find out Tuesday.


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