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TRPA hires counsel

Andy Bourelle

John Marshall has spent his entire legal career working with governmental regulation and the protection of natural resources. That makes him well-equipped for his newest job.

Marshall is the new legal counsel for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Marshall, 37, has been working full time with the TRPA for about a month.

“There’s a fascinating range of issues here, legal issues and policy issues,” Marshall said. “I like representing government agencies. I like defending the democratic decision-making process.”

About one year ago, Marshall and his wife, Kate, were working for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He grew up in California, and they wanted to return to the West.

They moved to Reno about 10 months ago when she got a job with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. He continued to work for the Department of Justice out of Reno until the TRPA position became available.

Approximately 100 applications were received, and TRPA narrowed the selection to five or six candidates from telephone interviews. After personal interviews, the governing board selected Marshall.

His salary is $72,000, and unlike other TRPA staff, he works directly for the governing board.

Marshall earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Oberlin College in Ohio, and he completed law school at the University of California, Davis.

With the U.S. Department of Justice, Marshall worked with the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Wildlife and Marine Resources Section. He handled defense and enforcement cases relating to wildlife protection.

Going from dealing with endangered species and federal land-use planning to looking at whether a resident should rebuild a pier at a certain location has been a big change for Marshall. However, he said he recognizes the importance of Lake Tahoe issues.

“When you get into Tahoe issues, they are very important to not only California and Nevada, but it’s also a significant national issue,” he said. “There’s a complete range of issues to deal with, from the nuts and bolts stuff up to the large pieces of litigation. There’s just a wonderful range of opportunity.”

When working for the Department of Justice, Marshall said, he usually only became involved when the issue was already in litigation and “crystallized in an adversarial posture.” Being able to try to come up with solutions before it reaches that stage is a part of Marshall’s new job that he enjoys.

“I’d like to make sure TRPA operates in a fair and even-handed manner,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone’s kind of on a level playing field.”

Marshall said he is getting settled into the job now, and some of his long-range plans include enlarging TRPA’s in-house attorney staff. Many of TRPA’s current litigation is handled primarily by outside counsel, and Marshall would like to bring more of that back in-house.

Marshall said he is happy with the job, and he and his wife are happy living in Reno. They have one daughter, Anna, who is 2 years old, and another child due in November.

He said they love the area and have no intentions of leaving.

“One of the big reasons we wanted to get back out West was the access to the outdoors: hiking, biking, camping, skiing, the full range of activities the Sierra offers,” he said.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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