Corona rival retires after facing demotion SANTA ANA – Lt. Bill Hunt, suspended after challenging Sheriff Mike Carona in the June election, retired Friday as he faced a demotion that would have cut his salary nearly in half.

Today, San Clemente City Manager George Scarborough announced that Hunt had been demoted to deputy II and transferred to patrol in Stanton effective Dec. 29. The rank is one step up from entry level.

Hunt is a 21-year veteran who was chief of police services in San Clemente. He was placed on administrative leave hours after Carona won re-election in June. Carona has been vocal about his right to discipline Hunt for critical comments made during the campaign. The sheriff could not be reached today.

Hunt, also unavailable today, has said Carona was engaging in political retaliation and was infringing on protected political speech.

As a lieutenant, Hunt earned up to $123,905 a year. His new salary range would have topped out at $77,708.80.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino confirmed that Hunt had retired but said he is barred by law from discussing disciplinary matters.