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Criminal Justice

County CEO Blocks LA Sheriff Villanueva’s Last-Minute Promotions

A close up of Alex Villanueva, a man with a light skin tone, while he's in mid-speech talking into a microphone. He's wearing a sheriff's department pin on his suit jacket.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks to supporters during an election night party at Quiet Cannon in Montebello on November 8.
(Trevor Stamp for LAist)
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has tried to promote several officials in the waning days of his administration, but the county CEO is telling him he can’t.

The backstory: Villanueva is leaving office in a couple of weeks after being defeated in the election by former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. The sheriff said on Tuesday he promoted four officials because they’re “already acting in that capacity … They’re already in the position.”

The ruling: On Wednesday, County CEO Fesia Davenport sent Villanueva a letter telling him he doesn’t have the unilateral authority to promote anyone because of a more than two-year-old hiring and promotion freeze. She said her office will not approve promotion requests the sheriff recently submitted for approval.

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What's next? Davenport said she will restrict transfers and bonuses for all personnel until Sheriff-elect Luna takes office “and has had the opportunity to assess his organizational and promotional needs.”

Any reaction from Villanueva? The Sheriff’s Department said it has no comment.

Go deeper: LA County Sheriff Results: Sheriff Villanueva Concedes Race To Robert Luna. What's Next For LASD?