MARTINEZ -- Contra Costa County's next clerk-recorder and registrar of voters will be former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla of Pittsburg.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously chose Canciamilla over the retiring incumbent's brother and Pleasant Hill Councilman Jack Weir late Tuesday after public interviews with both men.
Canciamilla, 57, will succeed Steve Weir, who retires March 29 after nearly 24 years in the countywide elected post. He was appointed in 1989 after then-clerk-recorder James Olsson died. Weir ran for the office and won in 1990 and was re-elected five times without opposition.
Canciamilla will take office April 1 and serve the remainder of Weir's four-year term. To keep the $150,000-a-year job, Canciamilla must stand election in 2014.
The five supervisors praised Jack Weir's public service and his managerial and data management professional background.
But all said Canciamilla brought to the job a deeper understanding of county government and politics.
They also seized upon Canciamilla's plan for a civic education initiative for students and adults, a program he said would help citizens cut through the "smoke screen" around political campaigns.
"My experience as a public official and my experience in the private sector has left me with an understanding of the administrative side of the office and the elections side of the office," Canciamilla told the supervisors. "And I understand how important it is to maintain the integrity and nonpartisan nature of the office."
An attorney and co-owner of the Pittsburg Funeral Chapel, Canciamilla served three terms in the Assembly as a Democrat following a single term on the Board of Supervisors. He was previously elected to the Pittsburg school board and the Pittsburg City Council.
While in Sacramento, Canciamilla founded the "Mod Squad," which included moderate members of the two major parties who publicly tangled with their leaders. He routinely railed against partisans of both stripes he said were more interested in the fight than in a solution.
He intended to run for state Senate in 2008 against Mark DeSaulnier -- who ultimately won and was re-elected to a second term in 2012 -- but bowed out after Democratic party leaders threatened a brutal opposition campaign.
Canciamilla registered as having "no party preference" in 2011.
No one anticipates anything that would disqualify Canciamilla, who grew up in the county, from assuming the office, but as a matter of policy the county will first complete a criminal-background check before the board officially nominates him. Individuals convicted of specific felonies such as bribing a public official or voter fraud are prohibited from running for or holding state or local elected office.
He will also be required to submit a statement of economic interests, also known as a Form 700.