County board to meet today on finding successor for retiring District Attorney

Pleasanton native Tom Orloff, 66, wants assistant named to post

Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele said that she thinks it's "ridiculous" that the process for appointing a successor to District Attorney Tom Orloff, who announced his retirement last week, has become controversial.

The Board of Supervisors will address the matter at its meeting today.

"I never expected it to be so controversial, but it is," Steele said.

Orloff, 66, who has been in the district attorney's office for nearly 40 years and has headed it for the past 15, surprised the Board of Supervisors and the local legal community last week announcing that he plans to retire, even though his current four-year term doesn't expire until the end of next year.

Orloff, who grew up in Pleasanton and is the son of the late Ed and May Orloff, made his announcement at last Tuesday's county board meeting.

Orloff recommended that the board appoint Nancy O'Malley, 55, who has been in the district attorney's office for 25 years and has been chief assistant district attorney for the past 10 years, to fill the rest of his term. The election for the position will be held next June.

Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks said Monday that she plans to attend the meeting to ask that the board take more time before appointing a successor to Orloff.

Brooks said the appointment is important because, "The district attorney decides who will be charged and impacts the quality of life for people."

The Alameda County Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty said in a news release that it will ask the Board of Supervisors "to implement a fair, open and transparent process for selecting an interim district attorney."

Marion Taylor of the League of Women Voters in Oakland said in a statement contained in the news release, "Our concern is with the process of filling a vacancy caused by an incumbent resigning a few months before an election."

Taylor said, "By appointing someone now, they create a different race for the office when it comes up for election."

Natasha Minsker of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said she also is concerned about the process.

City News Bureau, Jeb Bing

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