Lacy has challenger for DA post | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lacy has challenger for DA post

William Ferchland

Leadership and experience are expected to be two cornerstones in the race for the top prosecutor job in El Dorado County.

The jostling by incumbent Gary Lacy, one of the longest tenured district attorneys in the county’s history, and challenger Vern Pierson, who has been campaigning for several months, is expected to pick up steam since the June 6 election is less than three months away.

Pierson expects to spend somewhere in the ballpark of $150,000 to try to unseat the 52-year-old Lacy, the district attorney since 1995. Lacy, in turn, said he would spend enough to win.

With 53 employees under his supervision, Lacy said he has the experience of handling the department’s $4.2 million budget, understanding of the county’s issues and knowledge of the people who appear in court.

“There is no question whether I can do the job because I have been doing the job for nearly 12 years,” Lacy said.

Pierson, 10 years younger than Lacy at 42, comes from the Amador County district attorney’s office where he served as the chief assistant district attorney. Taking a break from the job to campaign, Pierson has picked up several endorsements along the way.

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Pierson said he has the capability of guiding the district attorney’s office in El Dorado County. He cited his work in prosecuting sexual offenders such as authoring a statute to bar sex offenders from teaching. The attorney who once was assigned to the California Department of Justice investigating and pursuing grand jury inquiries, also authored a guide for prosecutors published by the California District Attorneys Association.

Pierson noted a departure of prosecutors in a two-month span late last year he described as “unusually high.” The result is one Pierson wants to fix if elected.

“You have brand new lawyers handling serious cases,” he said.

Lacy responded that four attorneys left for better job offers. Another resigned but Lacy wouldn’t elaborate on the reason, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters.

Pierson puts as much stock in his endorsements as Lacy does with his longevity being district attorney.

The endorsements underline a willingness to “stand up to an incumbent district attorney,” Pierson said.

In monetary terms, Pierson is intending to spend around $150,000, which would be more than six times what former prosecutor Erik Schlueter spent in 2002 in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Lacy. That election year, Lacy collected more than $36,000 for his campaign.

Unopposed

While the District 5 county supervisor seat, district

attorney and recorder-clerk are opposed, below is a list of unopposed El Dorado County seats and who is holding them.

— Tim Holcomb, assessor

— Joe Harn, auditor-controller

— Jeff Neves, sheriff

— Dan Russell, surveyor

— Vicki Barber, superintendent of schools

— C.L. Raffety, treasurer-tax collector