With the upcoming midterm retirement of Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir after nearly 24 years in the office, county supervisors must select his replacement.
Eighteen candidates applied for the job -- which involves running county elections and maintaining the county's property, birth, death and marriage records -- but almost none were qualified.
The Board of Supervisors last Tuesday narrowed the list to two -- the only two who deserved serious consideration -- and are scheduled to publicly interview them and make a selection Tuesday.
One of the finalists is Weir's older brother, Jack, 73, a member of the Pleasant Hill City Council. The other is former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, 57, of Pittsburg. With all due respect to Jack Weir, whom we consider a fine public servant and whom we are pleased to have endorsed for City Council, the choice isn't close.
Canciamilla brings 33 years of impressive elective office experience. Age 17 when first elected to the Pittsburg school board in 1973, he turned 18 by the time he was sworn in. He later served on the Pittsburg City Council, on the county Board of Supervisors and in the state Assembly until term limits forced him out in 2006.
Officially a Democrat at the time (and since re-registered with no party preference), he demonstrated political independence seldom seen in the modern-day Legislature. Canciamilla marched to his own drummer, putting policy ahead of partisan politics, bucking the norm by reaching across the ideological aisle.
It's that sort of desire to do what's right, not what's politically expedient, that makes him a superb candidate for county clerk-recorder. Canciamilla also has a law degree, which we believe will serve him well in the position. We are confident he would run the office with the professionalism that has been a hallmark of Steve Weir's tenure.
Weir will step down on March 29, one day after his 64th birthday, three days before retirees get an annual cost-of-living increase that will immediately boost his pension, and six days shy of his 40th anniversary of continuous government service. No current elected official has held significant public office longer.
Weir was appointed to a vacancy on the Contra Costa Water District board in 1973, just 13 days before Canciamilla first won election to the Pittsburg school board. Weir later successfully stood for election to the water board and later moved on to the Concord City Council before his 1989 appointment as county clerk-recorder.
Since then, he has held office through six election cycles and has never had an opponent. Meanwhile, he has admirably brought the office into the Internet age while navigating the constraints of shrinking county finances.
We would have preferred see Weir serve the remainder of his current term, through 2014. We're pleased there is a top-notch candidate to replace him.
We hope the Board of Supervisors agrees and selects Canciamilla to be Contra Costa County clerk-recorder.