District Attorney Gerry Shea will step down two months before his current term expires and allow newly elected District Attorney Dan Dow to take over early.
Shea, 66, told his staff Wednesday that he plans to retire Nov. 6.
Shea, who chose not to run for re-election, would have remained in that position until January, when his term was to expire.
“I’m really convinced it’s in the best interest of the office to do this,” Shea said, noting that there are many significant policy and hiring choices that Dow should be allowed to make sooner rather than later.
Shea has worked closely with Dow on the transition since Dow won the election. And, Shea said, he thinks Dow is ready to take over.
“I think the transition process has gone very well so far,” Shea said.
Dow, currently a deputy district attorney, defeated Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello in the June primary.
Shea, who has led the office for the past 16 years, said he has recommended that the county Board of Supervisors appoint Dow the district attorney beginning Nov. 7.
In a news release issued after Shea’s announcement, Dow, 44, thanked Shea for helping smooth the transition.
“Immediately following the election, Mr. Shea and I began working closely together to ensure that our office remained unified and prepared for any challenge,” Dow said. “I am confident that today our office is strong and our team will continue to work tirelessly to keep our community safe by dispending justice in a fair manner.”
As district attorney, Dow will have to name a new assistant district attorney, the second-highest position in the office. He will also have to hire four new deputy district attorneys, who are in the process of being recruited. There will also be significant policy changes with regard to how criminal cases are assigned to the courts, Shea said.
In his news release, Dow cited several other priorities, including vows to enhance relations with local agencies in an effort to crack down on gang crime, to pursue tougher sentences for drug dealers who sell hard drugs to youths and to improve communications with the public.
Dow will earn $190,964 as district attorney.
Shea, who began his career in 1974 as a deputy with the California Attorney General’s Office in Los Angeles, said he plans to travel with his wife once he is retired. He said he has no further plans.