Nevada County supervisors begin DA selection process

Gears are in motion to select a new Nevada County district attorney, with five people under consideration for the job.

There are two methods of filling the spot in anticipation of District Attorney Cliff Newell’s departure — having supervisors appoint someone or holding a special election.

County officials opted for the former, and issued a call for applicants shortly after Newell’s March announcement that he’d retire, effective July 10.

A public vote on the new district attorney is set for June 8. That person would have to run for election in June 2022 to keep the job.

Five candidates met last Thursday’s deadline to apply for the position, Human Resource Director Steve Rose has said. Supervisor Dan Miller, chairman of the board, has said he’d like someone in place by Newell’s departure date.

Officials anticipated a report on the candidates would be sent Tuesday to an ad hoc committee, which will work with the full board in selecting a new district attorney.

Members of the committee include CEO Alison Lehman, District 4 Supervisor Sue Hoek, District 5 Supervisor Hardy Bullock, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, and Yuba County District Attorney Clint Curry.

A first round of interviews, done by the committee, is set for this coming Tuesday. It is not open to the public, County Counsel Kit Elliott said in an email. A final round will occur June 8, which is open to the public. The field will have narrowed by the final round, likely to three or two candidates, Rose said.

“The ad hoc committee doesn’t have a particular number of short-listed candidates, but the process is to assure the candidates are commensurate with the best qualified,” he said.

Candidates’ education experience must meet statutory requirements to hold the elected office. They also must have at least five years’ experience in the field of criminal law pertaining to criminal justice. As well, they must be members of the California Bar.

“All five have met the minimum requirements,” Rose said.

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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