By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Calaveras County will soon lose one of its most seasoned government officials.
Mary Pitto, a county employee for 19 years who now serves as senior administrative analyst, will leave her post Dec. 6 to work for the Regional Council of Rural Counties in Sacramento.
Pitto said she will continue living in Mokelumne Hill with her husband, Roger, and will commute to work.
At her new job, Pitto will be a regulatory program director and will work "on behalf of rural counties, primarily when developing new regulations," she said.
The Regional Council of Rural Counties is a corporation that lobbies state and federal lawmakers on behalf of rural communities. Its board of directors consists of a supervisor from each of the Council's 29 member counties. Calaveras County's representative is District 4 Supervisor Tom Tryon.
Pitto will work with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources , Water Quality Control and Integrated Waste Management boards.
Pitto said many regulations passed down by the state to county governments don't always suit rural counties.
"A lot of the time they're costly, or they don't apply here," Pitto said. "We don't have the problems an urban area has."
Because the Council is not a public organization, Pitto does not have to disclose her salary at her new job. But she did say it will top the $60,236 she makes now.
Pitto is not the only former Calaveras County employee to work for the Regional Council of Rural Counties.
She was hired by Jim Hemminger, a former deputy director of the county's Public Works Department. Hemminger is now the Council's vice president for regulatory affairs.
"She's extremely capable," Hemminger said. "She's dedicated. I think she'll definitely be an asset to RCRC. She's familiar with a lot of rural issues, and at her new position she'll be working with a lot of state regulatory agencies."
And in April of 2001, then-Calaveras County Administrative Officer Brent Harrington left his post to be president of the council.
"Mary is wonderful," said Harrington, who gave Hemminger approval to hire Pitto. "She's very intelligent, and by virtue of living and working in rural counties for 20 years, she knows rural county issues."
Pitto, born and raised in San Diego, moved to Calaveras County in 1980.
She was hired as a county planner by Harrington, then the planning director, in 1984. Pitto later became the deputy planning director.
Pitto moved into administration in March 2000 to be the senior analyst.
Waller, who started working for the county 17 years ago, is a friend of Pitto's both in and out of the office. He said he will miss their weekly lunches.
Even after she leaves, Pitto said her new job calls for her to continue working with county regulatory agencies.
She also said she will answer any questions from Tom Mitchell, the county's new administrative officer.
"I'll extend myself once I'm even working up there," Pitto said.