Raymond Fortner Tapped as County Counsel for Next Two Years
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Acting Los Angeles County Counsel Raymond G. Fortner Jr. was named county counsel late yesterday, beating out four other finalists.
But in an unusual twist, a county spokesperson said that Fortner, 60, will only serve until 2006 and will participate in the naming of his successor. Previous county counsels have not been appointed for fixed periods of time, but have served at the pleasure of the board.
No explanation was offered as to why Fortner’s tenure will be limited, but a source familiar with county pension plans said that given the length of his employment with the county, Fortner will be able to retire at close to 120 percent of his salary.
Supervisors chose Fortner over Assistant County Counsel Steven J. Carnevale; Anthony Ching, general counsel of Continental Carbon Company; Chief Deputy County Counsel Donovan Matthews Main, the office’s top litigator; and Roberta M. Yang, Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn’s deputy mayor for public safety.
The five were chosen from among 55 applicants.
Fortner will succeed Lloyd W. “Bill” Pellman, who retired at the end of March. Fortner was Pellman’s top deputy and has headed the office since Pellman departed.
Fortner, Yang, and Main were finalists when Pellman was chosen in 1998 to succeed DeWitt Clinton, who retired after 15 years as the county’s top lawyer.
Fortner earned his law degree from USC and has been with the County Counsel’s Office since 1970. He became the top deputy to Clinton in 1997 and remained in that role after Pellman’s selection.
His first supervisory role with the office came in 1984 with the Public Services Division. He was promoted to senior assistant county counsel in 1985, supervising approximately one-third of the office’s lawyers.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky declined to comment on the appointment. Other board members could not be reached.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company