Union Democrat staff

Four-term Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors member Dick Pland announced on Wednesday that he won't run for re-election next year, leaving behind a nearly 50-year legacy of public service in the county.

The 5th District board member from Jamestown has often served as the voice of reason on the board. More than once during the board's regular Tuesday morning meetings, Pland has swayed contentious votes with a stiff upper lip, and a thoughtful opinion.

A University of California graduate who grew up in the Bay Area,

Pland, 81, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea and Japan. He moved

to Tuolumne County in 1957 and worked as a forester until his


He served on the Tuolumne County Board of Education for 30 years before joining the Board of Supervisors in January 1997.

Pland participated in countless votes during his tenure, but

perhaps none so controversial as the board's decision to close Tuolumne

General Hospital. Pland has said it was the most emotional and

difficult vote he has ever made.

"I tried to do the best I could to make the right decisions for the district and the county as a whole," he said.

County Administrator Craig Pedro, who has known Pland for decades, said he is the go-to-guy for difficult issues.

This year, the board put Pland in charge of a coordination plan

designed to give the county more influence in state and federal

government projects on public lands.

"The respect for him extends beyond our borders," he said. "When Dick speaks, people listen."

Pland will likely finish out his term as board president, since he

is next in line to take the post following a vote by the supervisors

next year.

He has been married to his wife Audrey for the past 58 years, and

together the couple have four children and 11 grandchildren.

Pland said he doesn't plan to seek another political office and is looking forward to retirement and hitting the links.

"It would be good to take 15 to 20 strokes off my golf swing," he said.