Friday, August 7, 2020
Home News Sheriff Defends Controversial Personnel Actions

Sheriff Defends Controversial Personnel Actions

By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter

For much of the nearly six months since Alex Villanueva was elected sheriff of Los Angeles County, he’s been embroiled in controversy, primarily regarding several personnel actions. On Tuesday, April 23, he fought back against the criticism while conducting a town hall meeting in Carson — the first of several town halls scheduled in the communities his department serves.

“It’s due process. Someone asked, is this the hill you want to die on? I said, yes,” he responded, resorting to a military expression.

Villanueva spoke to Random Lengths News shortly before last November’s election, he accused his opponent, then-sheriff Jim McDonnell, of terminating employees first and asking questions later. “In so doing he’s wracked with wrongful termination suits, just like he did in Long Beach [McDonnell was formerly the Long Beach police chief] on a much bigger scale.”

Shortly after Villanueva became sheriff, several deputies fired under McDonnell’s administration were rehired or reinstated — and even which term applies to those personnel actions has been a subject of controversy. One, Caren Carl Mondoyan, was fired in connection with alleged domestic abuse. Another, Michael Courtial, was fired over an excessive-force incident.

Villanueva has stated to the press on multiple occasions that 68 more deputies’ termination cases are being reviewed.

The county, and its board of supervisors, took Villanueva to court in March over whether he had the authority to put Mondoyan back on the job. The county’s lawyers also questioned the legality of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission the new sheriff formed to re-evaluate terminations under revised guidelines. In March, the court declined to issue an injunction to stop Mondoyan from carrying a badge and gun, and drawing pay. The next court action on the case is scheduled for late June.

At the Carson town hall, in response to this reporter’s question, Villanueva said, going back at least 10 years, “the organization [the department] went off the rails” and “internal processes” were compromised.

“I’m stuck picking my way through the rubble. My predecessor didn’t resolve the issue,” he said.

Villanueva said that if an internal affairs investigation was compromised, then an employee who was terminated could sue and collect—taxpayers’ money. There is an excess of 100 such cases in superior court.

He charged that under the previous administration, witnesses were under a “gag order,” in which they risked “undermining the department” if they testified “truthfully” to the Civil Service Commission. He has rescinded that gag order.

He said he directed his division chiefs to go through all termination cases, and although there were some good decisions, there were also some “stinkers” that “we gotta deal with for the next two or three years.”

He said of the two termination cases the county and press criticized, “exculpatory evidence was knowingly concealed” so “we cut our losses” by putting the deputies back on the job, rather than go through a lengthy court battle.

“If you fired them properly, they’re not coming back,” he assured the audience. “I’ve already terminated 16 employees [for] DUI, domestic violence, etc. It’s just part of the job.”

Villanueva did not make a formal speech. Instead he spent roughly 90 minutes responding to more than a dozen questions from the floor. Most were submitted via cards, but some audience members simply shouted questions. Besides the controversial personnel issues, topics addressed included homelessness and cannabis enforcement.

Responding to a question concerning marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Harbor Gateway, Villanueva said policies are still being defined. “We’re trying to get rid of the black market but protect legal operations,” Villanueva said. “The black market is trying to take out legal ones. If you think one’s going on, report it to the sheriff.”

Several questions about homelessness were addressed in a single response. Villanueva introduced Lt. Jeff Dietrich, who supervises the homeless outreach services team. Dietrich said the department is adding more deputies to deal with homelessness, and Carson is the only station that has two deputies assigned to the team.

Dietrich also said that as of 2018, Carson had 481 homeless persons, with two-thirds of them living in vehicles.

Lyn Jensen
Lyn Jensen
Lyn Jensen has been a freelance journalist in southern California since the 80s. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Weekly, the Los Angeles Reader, Music Connection, Bloglandia, Senior Reporter, and many other periodicals. She blogs about music, manga, and more at and she graduated from UCLA with a major in Theater Arts. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

Most Popular

Ode to a Bookman

James Bullard Kennedy, July 13, 2020 By Bondo Wyszpolski, Contributor For two decades, Easy Reader and...

Keeping the Beer Taps Flowing During the Pandemic

In this latest edition of Random Lengths, we picked up a column by Beer Paper L.A.’s David Mulvihill, “Navigating the Current Normal,”...

“How Trump Stole 2020,” and What You Can Do to Make It Not Come True

By page 3 of How Trump Stole 2020, where our 45th president is labeled as “an orange-stained, gelatinous bag of malicious mendacity,...

Protestors March in Defense of Portland BLM Activists

As a result of the nationwide solidarity marches, federal troops, under Department of Homeland Security control, have agreed to leave Portland. The...

Recent Comments

Randomly Lengthly Walt on Republicans’ Revolt
Antifa are the real fascists on The Truth About Antifa
Artemis Gordon on The Truth About Antifa
Vicky Palesa Adam on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
J.S on Icarus Falls
Ghost from your past! on Icarus Falls
Lisa Bennett on The Truth About Antifa
Dave on Icarus Falls
Kevin on Icarus Falls
DAVID J LEE on Think: George Floyd
M Mackey on Think: George Floyd
Michael S. Motta on Think: George Floyd
Thomas "HOUSE" Houchens on Think: George Floyd
Eliath Mena on Think: George Floyd
Deidre Powell on Think: George Floyd
Marcia Ladymgirl on Think: George Floyd
Jennifer L on Think: George Floyd
Carlos Fisher on Think: George Floyd
Jose "cheMMa" Rodriguz on Think: George Floyd
Aniza Thomas on Think: George Floyd
David Seay on Think: George Floyd
Marc LJ on Think: George Floyd
andre edwards on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on From Pop Culture to Cop Culture
Sharon Hislop on Think: George Floyd
Fetteroff on Think: George Floyd
Raul Acevedo Jr. on Think: George Floyd
Mel Grayson on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on A Virtual World of Events 
Alice r. Knoop on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Joshua E Chambers on Take me to Sardine
Chad Dorchester on Take me to Sardine
Terelle Jerricks on Change Won’t Be Televised
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Bob Kohler on About
Judie M Barker on About
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Vivian Morales on From War to Lowrider
Robin Doyno on Staff
Publisher on About
Joe Stackhouse on Advertise
Marshariki Haylock on A Stabbing in San Pedro
CARRIE MENDOZA on A Stabbing in San Pedro
Martin Palmiere EMC(SW) ret. on Trouble on the Iowa
Martin A.Palmiere EMC(SW) USN(ret.) on Trouble on the Iowa
John H Winkler on Frequently Asked Questions
J. McVey on Staff
Malou Mariano on Tampering and Collusion
Terrell Williams on The New Gap Band Fills The Gap
Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D. on About
Harold Ericsson on Letters to the Editor
Hillbinkel on Trouble on the Iowa
Ian Gordon on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
larry lebedin on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
Joseph Bianco on Frequently Asked Questions
Deborah Steed on Zerby Family Finds Solace
Don Griffin on Rosenberg
Pete on About
Anne Marie Knudsen on Clem Pennington is the Whole Package
Terelle Jerricks on About
Lyn Jensen on Go Retro with Records
Steven R. Heldt on Fig Trees Are Like Democracies
Joanne Sims on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Dave Borst-Smith on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Charles Traupmann on The Buscaino Report:
james P. Allen on Across the Great Divide
Allyson Vought on Across the Great Divide
PBinLostAngeles on RL NEWS Roundups: June 14, 2016
davehall on Voter Guide
Chris formica Gringos Tacos on Food Truck Blues
Random Lengths News on Iowa Fever
Tinisha Rodrique on IMG_1761
polos fred perry on Less Than a Side Show
cheap soccer jersey on Less Than a Side Show
le mahjong gratuit on The Surrealness of Knives and Breast
Harry and the Gang on Sherlock Holmes at the LB Playhouse
neufert architect s data pdf on IMG_1761
sewing machine reviews on Annie at the Warner Grand