Posted on January 11, 2006

Suit Alleges Race Bias by O.C. Assessor

Jean O. Pasco, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 11, 2006

A senior auditor-appraiser in the Orange County assessor’s office contends in a lawsuit that he was passed over for promotion to a mid-level management job because he is white.

Ronald Cooper filed the racial-discrimination suit in Orange County Superior Court against Assessor Webster J. Guillory, the only African American to hold a countywide elected position in Orange County. Cooper alleged that he lost the manager’s job to an African American he called less qualified.


The lawsuit contends that Cooper, who was hired at the assessor’s office in 1977, applied for a managing auditor-appraiser job in March and emerged the top-ranked candidate after a panel interview. In August, while Cooper was on vacation, the suit says, another manager in the assessor’s office announced that Brian Ennis, a senior auditor-appraiser, was hired for the job.

“Ennis’ score at the interview was a distant second” to Cooper’s, according to the suit. When Cooper returned from vacation and asked what happened, he was told the hiring decision had been Guillory’s, the suit says.