Orange County Appointed Public Administrator, Measure A (June 2012)

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An Orange County Appointed Public Administrator, Measure A ballot question was on the June 5, 2012 ballot for voters in Orange County, where it was defeated.

If Measure A had been approved, it would have changed the office of Orange County Public Administrator from an elected position to one that was appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Under Measure A, the Public Administrator would have served at the will of the Board of Supervisors and would have all of the powers of the office provided by law. Measure A would not have been retroactive.[1]

Election results

Measure A
Defeatedd No233,05460.5%
Yes 152,135 39.5%
These final results are from the Orange County elections office.

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE A: "Shall the Ordinance changing the office of Public Administrator for the County of Orange from an elected office to an appointed office be adopted?"[2][3]

Estimated Fiscal Effect

No fiscal analysis was provided by the County counsel.[1]


The Public Administrator protects the assets and manages the affairs of deceased residents of Orange County who die with no known heirs, no will or qualified executor, and no qualified administrator of the estate. The office is presently an elected office with a term of 4 years. Changing it to an appointed office requires approval by a majority of Orange County voters.[1]

As of February 2012, the office of Public Administrator became vacant. The management of the office by the most recent Public Administrator, Mr. John S. Williams, who was first elected to the office in 2006 and reelected in 2010, was roundly criticized in two reports by the Orange County Grand Jury in 2009.[4] Subsequently, in the wake of the surrounding controversy and further disputes, the Board of Supervisors removed from Mr. Williams virtually all his duties as Public Guardian.[5] As of the beginning of February 2012, under an arrangement between Mr. Williams and the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Williams resigned as Public Administrator.[6]

Under the law as it exists without Measure A, the Board of Supervisors can appoint a person to the office of Public Administrator for the remainder of the vacated term (i.e., through 2014), at the end of which the office would be filled by election.[1]


Supporters of Measure A pointed to the findings of the Orange County Grand Jury which said that the Public Administrator/Public Guardian “failed to keep its promise to the taxpayers of Orange County to cut costs and improve services,” and concluded that the office needs a “complete restructuring.”

Supporters also argued that other large counties, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, operate with a Public Administrator appointed by the Board of Supervisors.[7]


• Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell
• Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach
• Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens
• Orange County Taxpayers Association President Reed L. Royalty
• Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh [8]
• Libertarian Party of Orange County [9]
• Lincoln Club of Orange County [10]


No argument in opposition to Measure A was submitted for inclusion in the voter’s guide.


• Orange County Register: “Ending the politicization of an administrative function, like the public administrator, seems a reasonable move; we recommend a Yes vote on Orange County Measure A.” [7]

Path to the ballot

Measure A was placed on the ballot by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

External links

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