Tim Lutz, Calaveras County’s top administrator, reiterated his reasons Tuesday for resigning and leaving Jan. 1 to take a new job with his former employer, Tulare County.

Lutz also dismissed speculation that he’s being forced out as county administrative officer after less than two years on the job, stating in part “this is definitely my own choice.”

Lutz, who is 38 years old and married with two daughters, ages 3 and 4, said he is leaving in part because his former employer made an offer, and making the change will allow him to spend more time with his family.

Asked if he and his family have purchased a home in Murphys, Lutz said, “I did yes, absolutely, in June 2017. This was a really tough decision. Some people in Tulare reached out to me previously to ask me to apply for the county administrative officer position. They hired someone else.”

Then he was invited to apply for the job of agency director for Tulare County Health and Human Services. His job before he came to Calaveras County as county administrative officer was finance director for the Tulare County Health and Human Services.

Essentially, he’ll be boss of the entire Health and Human Services department, a step above his previous job with Tulare County.

His current job as Calaveras County administrative officer is 60 to 70 hours a week, and that makes it tough on his family, Lutz said. He said his decision to leave is “bittersweet.”

His new job with Tulare County puts him in charge of a department with about 2,100 employees, compared with Calaveras County’s total of about 580 employees, and an annual budget approaching $482 million, compared with Calaveras County’s estimated annual budget of $170 million.

Lutz has been helping lead Calaveras County’s government since April 1, 2017. His starting pay was $179,192 annually, which worked out to $86.15 per hour. County staff have not responded to questions about Lutz’ current compensation.

Asked Tuesday if he is taking a pay cut or expecting a pay increase at his new job with Tulare County, Lutz said, “The move is more or less lateral for me. Health benefit payments and supplemental allowances make compensation roughly equivalent to my compensation in Calaveras.”

The five elected supervisors — Gary Tofanelli, Jack Garamendi, Mike Oliveira, Dennis Mills and Clyde Clapp — met in closed session Tuesday morning to discuss Lutz’ letter of resignation dated Nov. 21, and announced after closed session the board accepts his resignation. The supervisors later released a statement saying they have directed Lutz to bring a contract forward Dec. 18 with Manuel Lopez to serve as interim county administrative officer.

Lopez, a former county administrative officer for San Joaquin County, also worked as Calaveras County’s interim administrative officer before Lutz was hired by Calaveras County in early 2017.

Lutz said Tuesday he hopes to work with Lopez for the last two weeks of December to help with the transition, and he still expects his last day with Calaveras County to be Jan. 1.

Summarizing work he plans to focus on with Lopez and county staff during the two-week transition period, Lutz said key issues will include continuing implementation of a county space plan and capital improvement plan, and continuing work on options for the county’s unfunded pension liabilities.

Also Tuesday in Visalia, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors announced they have appointed Lutz to direct the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency effective Jan. 7. Tulare County staff said Lutz’s base salary will be $171,289.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.