The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to have its lawyers prepare a referendum for November's ballot, asking voters if the county assessor should be elected or appointed to office.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich recommended the ballot question to be decided by Los Angeles County voters.
Making the job an appointed post would require an amendment to the state constitution. In a statewide vote in 1986, about 85 percent of voters favored elections.
County Assessor John Noguez is on an indefinite leave of absence, as the District Attorney's office investigates allegations that his employees worked hand-in-hand with tax agents representing property owners to reduce assessed property values in exchange for campaign contributions.
A former appraiser -- who allegedly dropped property values in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades by about $172 million -- was arrested in May.
Santos Kreimann, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, is running the assessor's office in Noguez' absence. Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky were the dissenting votes in Tuesday's decision.