08/25/2007

Calif. sheriff resigns abruptly to take state position

By Maeve Reston
The Los Angeles Times

RIVERSIDE Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle announced his abrupt resignation Wednesday to accept a gubernatorial appointment to the state parole board, county officials said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman John F. Tavaglione said Doyle called him about noon to alert him that the governor's office called that morning and he expected the appointment to be announced soon.

"We were all surprised," Tavaglione said. "He's had distinguished career for 32 years. As he explained it to me, it seemed like the right time to begin the process of separating away from a bit of the pressure cooker though those were not his words that we are under as elected officials."

The governor's office has not made any announcement of such an appointment and could not confirm the news, said spokesman Bill Maile.

Tavaglione said Doyle had told him the parole board appointment was "intriguing and interesting to him." He anticipated that Doyle would step down four to six weeks after formally being appointed to the board. Supervisors were already checking with legal advisors on their next steps, Tavaglione said.

He said the board would make an initial appointment of an interim sheriff, but said he was uncertain whether that appointment would span the rest of Doyle's term or if the county would have a special election. to replace him.

Neither Doyle nor Undersheriff Neil Lingle could be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Doyle was reelected to his second term in June 2006 with 73% of the vote, although the sheriff's union did not endorse any candidate. The sheriff's term has been marred by allegations, which he disputed, that the department awarded civilian badges to campaign contributors.

The state Board of Parole Hearing's 17 members are appointed by the governor and require state Senate confirmation. The board establishes conditions for parole for California prisoners, and can suspend, revoke or postpone parole, as well as investigate applications for reprieves, pardons and commutations of sentences.

Five board members hear juvenile matters, while the rest handle adult cases. Board members earn $99,693 a year.

Copyright 2007 The Los Angeles Times

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