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Posted on: October 17, 2019

Retired Assistant Sheriff Selected for Open Council Seat

The Lake Forest City Council on Tuesday selected retired Orange County Assistant Sheriff Michael D. James to fill a City Council seat that has been vacant since August.

James was appointed to finish the term of Leah Basile, who resigned because her family is relocating. The term ends in November 2020. A dozen residents applied for the position.

Serving Lake Forest residents is nothing new for James. He was assigned to El Toro before the City incorporated, was the City’s Chief of Police Services between 1999 and 2005 and is an inaugural member of the City’s Traffic and Parking Commission. He has also volunteered as a member of the Board of Directors of Laura’s House and for youth baseball, basketball and soccer programs.

James earned his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from Vanguard University. He managed a $300 million budget as an Assistant Sheriff from 2008 to 2012 and has served as the Executive Director of the Integrated Law and Justice Agency Orange County since 2015.

Born and raised in Orange County, James and his wife, Sandi, have been Saddleback Valley residents since 1988.

“I have always been and remain active in my community,” James said in his candidate’s statement. “As a member of the City Council, I will focus on Public Safety and the quality of life issues we all face in our daily lives. I will always conduct myself in a professional manner and treat all those I deal with fairly. I will listen to residents and work closely with them to solve issues that affect their daily lives.”

Lake Forest Mayor Mark Tettemer thanked the residents who applied for the open seat and said he was confident James would be an asset to the City. “Mike’s knowledge of the City – as a law enforcement officer, parent and volunteer – is unmatched,” Tettemer said. “That knowledge, combined with his management experience and dedication to public service will make him a great addition to the Council.” 

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