Merced County executive officer hospitalized with chest pains

Merced County Executive Officer Larry Combs was taken to a Modesto hospital after suffering chest pains Wednesday night, county officials have confirmed.

Details about Combs' condition are unknown, although several sources inside the county's administration said managers were notified Thursday about the situation.

Jim Brown, assistant county executive officer, will pick up Combs' workload while he's out.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, he may be out of the office for a period of time," Brown said, adding that he hopes Combs will be out for "only a couple weeks."

Members of the Board of Supervisors said they were awaiting more details about Combs' condition and wished him well.

Chairman John Pedrozo was told that Combs, 62, wasn't in the office Thursday because he was being medically evaluated.

"Whether it's a heart attack, I don't know," Pedrozo said. "Larry had called me at about 3:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon and everything was OK, so I have no idea."

Supervisor Linn Davis also heard that Combs had a medical problem Wednesday night, but doesn't know if it was confirmed as a heart attack.

Supervisor Deidre Kelsey said the county is in good hands with Brown, who's been with the county for about 20 years.

Combs was the chief administrator of Sutter County before being appointed in October 2009 to serve as Merced's executive officer.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsun-star.com.