LOTS MORE TO FOLLOW....
|Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez: |
Surrounded by trash....?
• Thu, Feb 23, 2012
Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez turned the reigns of America’s largest county government property assessment agency to a former political operative of a San Gabriel Valley based trash recycling business, just months after his election in November of 2010.
In documents obtained by Los Cerritos Community News, Noguez radically redrew the organizational chart of the Assessor’s office and gave political contributor Chris Carlos, EdD the top administrative position. Carlos is the former head of Government Affairs at Athens Disposal Services and is now Chief of Staff to Noguez.
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Further, LCCN has confirmed that Carlos has no professional experience in the field of tax management or as a professional appraiser prior to his hiring by Noguez.
“Carlos now wears the badge of Chief of Staff and is calling all the shots. He runs the joint, day in and day out,” one employee with more than 33 years experience inside the Assessor’s office told LCCN.
On February 7th, Carlos fired off an email to every employee at the assessor’s office remindi
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ng them “wherein Assessor Noguez reminded all personnel to be diligent in valuing property at its fair market value, in accordance to the law, regardless of a property owner’s relationship with the Assessor.”
Carlos goes on to state in the email that “in keeping with this directive, if any tax payer representative has communicated expectations of special treatment related to any case with the Assessor’s office, please immediately forward to me the substance of that communication, along with the name of the party and the case number involved, through “your chain of command.”
“Our code of ethics requires the maintenance of integrity and propriety in all departments’ matters and any behavior that may compromise the ability of the department to carry out its lawful function will be appropriately addressed,” the memo is signed by Carlos and ends with the note “thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”
Brian Hews, LCCN Publisher said “it is the responsibility of a free and open news organization to have direct information regarding the internal activities of any government agency, especially one as complex and powerful as the Los Angeles County Assessor.”
LCCN was the first news organization to break the story that Noguez and his office is the subject of at least two criminal probes by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Since then, several other news agencies including the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Eastern Group Publications and a growing assortment of radio talk shows and television news casts are beginning to cover the ever fluid developments.
Hews sent a direct request to the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder requesting several hundred pages of public documents, records, and internal memos under the “Freedom of Information Act” regarding the activities of Noguez.
In another memo obtained by LCCN, dated Tuesday, August 2, 2011, Noguez began informing his staff of several hundred employees of “organizations changes” based upon his “vision for the Assessor’s Office to provide fair appraisals in the most efficient professional and courteous manner possible.”
Noguez, who is a former elected city councilman from Huntington Park, also states that he used “preference sheets were reviewed and every effort was made to accommodate these requests.”
“However, in some cases it was necessary to deviate from the preference list to provide the best fit for each considered position,” Noguez wrote.
In another memo obtained by LCCN from June 16, 2011 under both the signature of Noguez and Assistant Assessor George Rekei, announced that Mark McNeill would be promoted to the position of Chief Appraiser of Major Real Properties and Andrew Stephens to the position of Chief Appraiser of Assessment Services...