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Kalunian may be next Los Angeles County Counsel

March 30, 2009 |  5:42 pm

Los Angeles County’s chief deputy public defender is poised to become acting county counsel, a position left open by the retirement today of Raymond G. Fortner.

Robert Kalunian, who joined the public defender’s office in 1973 and has been in his current job since 1995, is backed by the county’s chief executive, William T Fujioka.

In a letter to supervisors that will be considered at Tuesday’s board meeting, Fujioka proposed hiring Kalunian for an unspecified term with an annual salary of $234,591 -- an 8.25% raise from his current salary.

Kalunian, 60, of San Marino is a registered Democrat and a graduate of Southwestern University School of Law.

Fujioka said Kalunian, who met with county supervisors today, has agreed to take the job if approved by the board. Kalunian’s position at the public defender’s office would be kept vacant and his duties reassigned on a temporary basis, staff said.

Fortner, 65, of Seal Beach had worked for the county counsel’s office since 1970. A registered Republican who earned his law degree at USC, Fortner was appointed acting County Counsel in April 2004 when Lloyd W. "Bill" Pellman retired after six years, and as permanent County Counsel in November 2004.

County counsel supervises an office of about 270 lawyers and 200 support staff.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske