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File #: 2020-0939   
Type: Regular Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 9/9/2020 In control: Human Resources
On agenda: 9/15/2020 Final action:
Title: Appointment of County Counsel
Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. Resolution
Date Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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To: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator, Human Resources

Staff Name and Phone Number: Sheryl Bratton, 565-3578 Christina Cramer, 565-2988

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): Countywide




Appointment of County Counsel



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

Adopt Resolution appointing Robert Pittman as County Counsel, effective September 22, 2020 through September 22, 2024; and invite the County’s Clerk Recorder Assessor and Registrar of Voters to administer the Oath of Office to the County Counsel.



Executive Summary:

Upon the retirement announcement of the former County Counsel, Bruce Goldstein, the County conducted an extensive recruitment process for Goldstein’s successor.  Robert Pittman, currently the County’s Assistant County Counsel, was selected by the Board of Supervisors.  This item appoints Mr. Pittman as County Counsel for a term of four years as designated by California Government code §27640 and 27641.  Mr. Pittman will also be sworn into the position by the County’s Clerk Recorder Assessor and Registrar of Voters.  Mr. Pittman will be appointed at the current salary range for County Counsel, $255,068 per year, and will be eligible for other County benefits in accordance with Salary Resolution 95-0926.



Upon the announcement of the previous County Counsel’s retirement, Human Resources conducted an extensive nationwide recruitment. Candidates were invited to interview with a diverse group consisting of subject matter experts, County department heads, and the Board of Supervisors. At the conclusion of the process, the Board selected Robert Pittman as the next County Counsel. 


Robert Pittman is an accomplished Public Agency Attorney with more than 25 years of experience advising County Board of Supervisors, City Council Members and other public agency staff.  Mr. Pittman has a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cornell University.  Mr. Pittman’s experience includes: acting as special counsel to several public agencies throughout the State of California, he was the former Assistant/Acting City Attorney to many cities including Adelanto, Beverly Hills, Dana Point, Laguna Beach and Irvine.  More recently, Mr. Pittman has served as the Assistant County Counsel for the County of Sonoma since 2016.


The County Counsel and the Office of the County Counsel acts as the legal advisor to the Board of Supervisors, County departments and special districts, advises the County on law and legal matters and represents the County in litigation.  The County Counsel oversees five divisions: Litigation, Labor Law & Justice, Health & Human Services, Land Use, Infrastructure & Public Resources and Recovery & Resiliency.  Additionally, the Office of the County Counsel coordinates and handles outside counsel in the defense of all claims filed against the County.  The department has 41.25 permanent positions and has a FY 2020-21 operating budget of $11 million dollars. 


California Government Code Section 27640-27648 specifies basic terms and conditions of the employment relationship between the position of County Counsel and California counties.  Section 27640 specifies that the County Counsel shall serve four-year terms of office. 


The attached Resolution appoints Robert Pittman as County Counsel with an effective term of September 22, 2020 through September 22, 2024 at the current annual salary rate of $255,066 including all other benefits and compensation as prescribed in the County’s Salary Resolution 95-0926. The position must be sworn in prior to taking office; the County’s Clerk Recorder Assessor Registrar of Voters, Deva Proto, will be participating in the Board item and will administer the Oath of Office immediately after the Board of Supervisors adopts the Resolution.


While Mr. Pittman currently resides in Marin County, he plans on relocating to Sonoma County and is asking the Board to temporarily waive the residency requirement through December 31, 2021 to give him time to relocate his family.


Prior Board Actions:



Fiscal Summary


FY 20-21 Adopted

FY21-22 Projected

FY 22-23 Projected

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Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

Ongoing annualized salary and benefit costs associated with this position has been incorporated into the County Counsel Department’s budget. This action does not increase any budget appropriations. 



Staffing Impacts:




Position Title (Payroll Classification)

Monthly Salary Range (A-I Step)

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Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):




Resolution appointing Robert Pittman as County Counsel.


Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board: