City administrative officer Miguel Santana, the point man on the city's budget and its ominous deficit, announced over the weekend that he's stepping down from his post temporarily in order to attend an alcohol treatment program following his arrest last week on suspicion of drunk driving.
The revelation couldn't have come at a worst time for a city flailing in the face of a nearly $700 million deficit scheduled to hit this summer. Santana has shown rare leadership on the issue, recommending layoffs and department cuts without letting political and union allegiances cloud the hard choices ahead. Only after the foot-dragging City Council inspired bad press did the mayor follow some of Sanatana's sober recommendations on how to trim the deficit.
In announcing his hiatus, Santana stated “I do not know how long this stage of my journey will be,” according to the Daily News' Rick Orlov. The budget chief said his second-in-command, Ray Ciranna, would serve as acting administrative officer in his absence.
Santana was pulled over Thursday night after he had downed a few at a roast for county District Attorney Steve Cooley downtown. He was reportedly driving a city vehicle en route to his home in Claremont.