Until recently, the marquee role to shape policy was filled by Aguiar, a well-versed governmental, political and business figure for three decades, who co-authored the state's Three Strikes Law and accepted the senior policy advisor gig about a year ago.
Josefina M. Kenline, an experienced government executive, has been pegged by First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood for chief of staff. With the appointment, Kenline replaces senior policy advisor Fred Aguiar as Lovingood's top aide.
Kenline will be the first chief of staff for Lovingood's office since the staffing agency co-owner was elected in 2012, and she'll oversee two deputy chiefs, a policy adviser and other aides.
Lovingood on Wednesday cited "a need of an experienced person to fill the role," calling it a plus that Kenline was "familiar with the Inland Empire."
"You have to make the investment with the executive team" in order to check off the office's goals over the next four years, he added. "We have the team now that's going to accomplish that."
Lovingood, who beat former Victorville Councilwoman Angela Valles in a hotly contested race in November, plans to further outline specific objectives for his second term at the beginning of the new year. He had already described some of his priorities while on the campaign trail: bolstering public safety, attracting jobs to the district, readying the workforce to entice job creators, and meeting the region's infrastructure demands.
Kenline, who has been the assistant to city managers in Colton and Indio and, more recently, the city manager in La Puente and the interim city manager in Colton, will be given a $158,861 annual compensation package, according to a staff report from the Dec. 20 meeting of San Bernardino County supervisors.
"This just gives us the opportunity to strengthen and help shape responsible policy for constituents," Lovingood said of the hire.
Until recently, that marquee role was filled by Aguiar, a well-versed governmental, political and business figure for three decades, who co-authored the state's Three Strikes Law and accepted his gig about a year ago. He's no longer with the office, Lovingood confirmed.
His hiring had been criticized, particularly by Valles, for its substantial pay and part-time capacity. Aguiar was paid $122,700 yearly for a roughly 18.5-hour work week on average.
"The value of Fred, which has been documented, has greater value than many positions that pay an excess of that, where people claim that they work full time," Lovingood said in an October rebuttal to the backlash.
Kenline's work week will be established by Lovingood or a designee, according to a copy of her contract.
Her time in La Puente came amid a prickly situation for the city as described in a Sept. 4, 2011 Los Angeles Times piece. The economically stressed city had presented a revolving door of top administrators, and Kenline ultimately resigned after a year.
She accused a councilman there of sexual harassment and filed a claim against the city. She sued for wrongful termination after she refused to write off a parking ticket for a different councilman. A building official then sued the city and claimed he had been sexually harassed by Kenline and also wrongfully terminated, the Times reported.
"I'm certainly aware of allegations," Lovingood said. "All those issues were settled. From my vetting standpoint, we're ready to move forward."
The Fair Political Practices Commission later found that Kenline failed to properly file a statement of economic interest upon her departure from La Puente, according to a warning letter sent by the FPPC to her on Oct. 26, 2011.
But when she was hired as the interim city manager in Colton in December 2014, Kenline told the San Bernardino Sun that her attorney had advised her to hold off filing a statement until pending lawsuits were settled.
On her LinkedIn profile, Kenline described her La Puente tenure as managing all the city services for the roughly 45,000-person city. In addition, she said she "(w)orked with community leaders and businesses ... during times of extraordinary financial challenges to provide a conscious responsibility to continue services by means of non-traditional solutions with attenuating budgets."
Lovingood concluded that Kenline's presence will only buoy efforts over the next four years to build on certain milestones of his first term, which included reducing homelessness and overall crime and cracking down on a regional welfare fraud epidemic.
"As organizations, you understand opportunities," he said about the hire. "I think our record speaks well ... and I think this is going to increase the successes within our efforts for the residents of the 1st District and the county."
Shea Johnson can be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.