Denah Hoard Named Head of Orange County Ethics Commission

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has finally picked someone to run the county’s new ethics commission. Denah Hoard, who currently serves as Orange’s senior assistant city attorney, has been named executive director, according to a staff report posted on the county’s website Wednesday.

Hoard’s contract will come before the Board for a vote on Tuesday. She was offered the position during closed discussions on Feb. 14.

The quiet selection surprised campaign finance watchdog Shirley Grindle who pushed for the creation of the ethics commission in the first place. But “from what I’ve been told about her background, she’ll do fine,” Grindle said.

Hoard has practiced law for 23 years. She previously served as assistant city attorney for Santa Ana and legal counsel for the California State University system. It’s an impressive resume. What bothers Grindle is the portion of her proposed contract which says she’ll work “under the direction of the Board of Supervisors,” and “at the sole pleasure” of the Board.

“That arrangement is not ideal, and we’re just gonna have to see whether the [Board of Supervisors] will keep their hands off her fair and independent evaluation,” Grindle said.

In either case, open government advocates are just happy to have someone at the helm. Voters approved the creation of the commission nine months ago. The Board has yet to appoint any of the commissioners.