NBC 4 reports that former Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert L. Citron (D-Santa Ana) died earlier today at the age of 87.
A career employee of what was then the office of the Orange County Tax Collector, Citron was elected Tax Collector in 1970. When Republican Orange County Treasurer Ivan Swanger retired in 1973, the offices were merged, with Citron becoming the first combined Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector.
Citron was re-elected in 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, and 1994. Citron’s investment schemes brought high yields to the county investment pool, but his opponent in the June 1994 election accused Citron of making risky investments. That opponent’s criticisms were dismissed by many as election rhetoric. Six months after the election, in December 1994, Orange County declared bankruptcy and Citron resigned, before even taking office in the seventh term he had just won. Under Citron’s watch in 1994, the $8 billion county investment pool lost $1.64 billion.
In March 1995, three months after declaring bankruptcy, the Board of Supervisors appointed Citron’s 1994 opponent as Treasurer-Tax Collector; John Moorlach would go on to serve as Treasurer-Tax Collector for 11 years before winning election to the Board of Supervisors in the June 2006 elections (and taking office that December after Supervisor Jim Silva resigned a month early to start his State Assembly term).