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Roll Heads, Bring Fresh Blood: A Prescription To Cure Local Government?

Supervisor Jeff Stone put it out there today. Do you agree with him?

When the new Riverside County Chief Executive Officer was selected Tuesday by the board of supervisors, Assistant Executive Officer Jay Orr got the nod in a 4-1 vote. Supervisor Jeff Stone was the lone dissenter.

Today, Stone talked to the media about his No vote.

He told City News Service that the new chief executive officer may be too entrenched in the "status quo" to take the steps necessary to right-size county government and ensure its fiscal health going forward.

More than 100 people applied for the position, and Orr was chosen over five other finalists, according to a county news release yesterday.

Stone said there were two individuals from outside the county whom he preferred, without disclosing their names.

"These applicants were very qualified, with tremendous public sector management experience," the supervisor told City News Service. "I was looking for someone with a fresh perspective, who would not have ties to anyone and not have the barriers of relationships that have been established over a number of years."

Orr is a 25-year county employee and is facing a $13 million deficit in the 2012-13 fiscal year under the tentative county budget submitted in March by the Executive Office, which is also calling for the elimination of 200 jobs -- a figure that's too low in Stone's opinion.

"We're top heavy and employee rich," Stone said. "We need to look at eliminating some department heads and ... re-examine layoffs. Anywhere from 500 to 1,000 layoffs may be necessary to pay the bills, provide services and add to our reserve fund for a fiscal emergency.

"We're operating at a deficit. I don't think we're coming out of this (economic) debacle soon," the supervisor continued. "We need to reduce costs to taxpayers and flatten out the corporate structure. I'm not saying Jay can't handle that, but he's ... part of the status quo, making it that much more difficult to commit to the changes necessary to achieve fiscal health."

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