Tuolumne County will have a new chief attorney by this time next year.
County Counsel Gregory Oliver announced Tuesday that he is retiring as of March 12, 2013. He made an unsuccessful bid for Tuolumne County Superior Court judgeship earlier this year.
Oliver, 49, has been the county’s lead counsel for 12 years and has worked in the office for 19. He presented a letter the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday about his decision, stating he will be available to help with transition of a new county counsel in any way he can.
After the meeting on Tuesday, Oliver said he’s “been looking for a change for a while.”
Oliver ran for a county judge seat this spring, losing to Judge Eleanor Provost in the June 5 primary. He said his desire for a change was also part of the reason for running.
Oliver also pointed out he will turn 50 in March, which is the earliest he is eligible for retirement.
“It seemed the timing was right,” said Oliver, who added he plans to spend more time fishing and riding snowmobiles.
With the position set to be vacant, supervisors must now decide how to replace Oliver. Chairman Dick Pland said the board is planning a “full recruitment” process that looks both internally and externally for a new county counsel.
Pland said they still haven’t decided “how far to cast the net.”
The county will likely start searching in the fall to give enough time find the right replacement, Pland said.
The County Counsel provides legal services for the county’s various boards, departments, agencies and projects. The chief counsel serves at the pleasure of the board.
Oliver’s annual salary is about $144,000.
The Board of Supervisors did meet in closed session during its July 3 meeting to discuss an employee evaluation for the county counsel. The board did not have any action to report after that closed session, and neither Pland nor Oliver would comment Tuesday on what was discussed.
In other news, the Board of Supervisors:
• Approved multiple land transfer agreements between the county and PG&E for 240 acres at Kennedy Meadows. The land is the first of almost 50 PG&E properties set to be turned over to other owners as part of a 2001 bankruptcy settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission.
An organization called the Pacific Forest and Watershed Stewardship Council is overseeing the land transfers. Though the county agreed to the initial transfer proposal, the plan must be approved by all parties as well as the Public Utilities Commission after public review before it happens.
If the transfer eventually happens, the county will also hold the lease to the popular Kennedy Meadows Resort and Pack Station.
• Approved a letter to the local Cal Fire unit chief requesting a formal proposal for fire services in the Groveland area. Groveland Community Services District leaders are currently working on a plan to restructure fire services in the district as a 10-year special assessment is no longer in place.
One option on the table is expanding the county’s contract with Cal Fire to include Groveland, but the county must request a presentation before the state department can make a formal proposal.
• Voted to place on the November ballot a five-year extension on the special tax south county residents pay for full-time ambulance services. Under the tax, with is up July 1, 2013, property owners with improved lots pay $70 a year.