John S. Williams, the county’s embattled public administrator and former public guardian, is refusing to leave office as he had said he intended to do.
Williams in March signed a letter to Bill Campbell, who was then chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors, stating “It is my intention to retire as Public Administrator – Public Guardian on Jan. 23, 2012.”
However, Williams recently notified county officials that he does not intend to retire, and he reported to work on Tuesday, Jan. 24, staying at his office until about 2 p.m., said his attorney, Phil Greer. After Williams left, county workers moved in to change the locks on his office.
John Moorlach, current chairman of the Board of Supervisors, released a letter dated Tuesday to Williams from County Counsel Nicholas Chrisos.
“(T)he purported oral notice to the CEO and to me via your counsel that you desire to rescind your nine-month old resignation, is not effective,” Chrisos wrote.
Moorlach said he told County Executive Officer Tom Mauk “we could change the locks and he’s off the payroll effective the 23rd.”
Williams, 60, has served as the county’s elected public administrator since 2003. He had also served as the appointed public guardian until the Board of Supervisors fired him from that role in June amid accusations of mismanagement.
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Williams was most recently reelected Public Administrator in June 2010, when he received 204,175 votes, or 58.4 percent of the total cast in a four-way race. His term expires in January 2015.
“They cannot throw an elected official out,” Greer said, adding that county officials are “behaving completely outside the scope of the law.”
Williams won’t attempt to return to work while he is locked out, Greer said. “We’re not going to go in there and have some kind of confrontation. We’re trying to resolve this with the county if we can’t do that, we’ll obviously be in court,” Greer said.
The Board made several agreements with Williams in exchange for his resignation, according to the letter from Crisos:
“(1) The Board allowed you tor [sic] remain as the Public Administrator for a one year period following the beginning of your term of office, which commenced in January 2011, at your full salary for both Public Administrator and Public Guardian, even though the Board had the power to reduce your salary when it removed you as Public Guardian; (2) The Board would not publicly release the highly critical report of your performance prepared for the Board by Special Counsel, Michael Colantuono; (3) The Board discussed with the CEO the option for the CEO to, within his authority, retain you as a consultant to the County for transition purposes.”Williams never formally resigned or retired, Greer said. Williams’ letter to Campbell “indicated he was considering retiring around the first of the year,” Greer said….
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