County executive officer resigns

County Executive Bill Luna, 57, resigned effective Oct. 4. Luna had been Riverside County executive officer since July 2008.

Ever since he took office, Luna has had to deal with balancing the county’s budget while its revenues continue to decline.

“This letter confirms my statement in closed session on Sept. 13 to resign the position of County Executive Officer,” Luna wrote the board two days later. “After the Sept. 13 closed session, I was asked to reconsider this action. I have given the matter serious thought, and conclude I would be willing to accept an employment contract to perform the job, similar to that of my predecessor, assuming unanimous support from the Board.”

At the Sept. 13 board meeting, Supervisors Bob Buster (1st District) and John Tavaglione (2nd District) had a brief blowup over the possibility of whether the board should consider reducing employee salaries to avert some employee layoffs.

Then, last week at another closed meeting, the Board of Supervisors accepted Luna’s resignation.

Former County Executive Larry Parrish has agreed to return and act as interim executive. He will serve voluntarily, without pay, for three months. During this period, he would be granted use of a county car. Also, at its Tuesday, Sept. 27 board meeting, the supervisors will vote on hiring a consultant firm to search for Luna’s replacement.

Barbara Oliver, director of Human Resources, will recommend the county contract with Roberts Consulting Group to conduct the search for a new executive officer. They conducted much of the recruitment in 2008 when Parish retired. According to Olivier, the proposed contract cost is $30,000, or 10 percent less than three years ago.

Luna first joined Riverside County as a project manager in the Department of Community Action in 1982. He was an administrative manager in the county’s administrative office from 1986 to 1990 before transferring to the Sheriff’s Department. He rose to chief deputy sheriff, director of administrative services, and returned in 2004 to what is now called the Executive Office as county finance director.

Desert Protection Act

The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution supporting U.S. Senate Bill 138, “The California Desert Protection Act of 2011.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced the legislation in January.

The bill would create the Mojave Trails National Monument, protecting 941,000 acres of federal land and the Sand to Snow National Monument, encompassing 134,000 acres of federal land. Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve would be expanded with the addition of adjacent lands.

The bill would protect nearly 76 miles of four important waterways, designate as permanent five new wilderness areas and four existing off-highway vehicle areas in the California desert.

The board’s resolution states, “This legislation will also create the … Sand to Snow National Monument, from Joshua Tree National Park to the San Gorgonio Wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest. This new national monument will expand tourism and bring important economic benefits to Riverside County.

“The California Desert Protection Act of 2011 complements Riverside County’s interests and is balanced legislation that preserves our national resources and facilitates recreation interests.”

Idyllwild Grinding Facility winter hours

The Idyllwild Grinding Facility will be closed on Saturdays from Dec. 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012. Saturday operations will resume May 5, 2012. Monday through Friday operations will continue uninterrupted and green waste will be accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Riverside County Waste Management Department at (951) 486-3200 or visit