City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana to Head L.A. County Fair Association

The man credited with helping the City of Los Angeles steer through the depths of the recession will soon take over as head of the beleaguered Los Angeles County Fair Association. Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana has been tapped to replace James Henwood Jr., who resigned as CEO in April amid intense scrutiny of the floundering organization.

As California County News reported at the time, the association has been in the red for several years and reported a loss of $3.44 million in 2014. That didn't prevent Henwood or his top managers from receiving lofty pay increases, however. Henwood’s compensation totaled more than $1 million that year.

The association’s gain is a massive loss for the City of Los Angeles, said County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He called Santana “a voice of fiscal reason” at City Hall who was always willing to speak candidly about L.A.’s fiscal woes.

Santana is set to take over on Jan. 17. He too will earn a substantial salary ($485,000). That reflects the immense responsibility of the job, he said. One of his first orders of business will be dealing with requests from auditors for back rent owed to the county.