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COUNTYWIDE : Government’s Top Lawyer to Retire

After serving for more than a quarter-century as Orange County government’s top lawyer, Adrian Kuyper is stepping down and recommending that his chief deputy succeed him.

Kuyper, 62, who has worked in the county counsel’s office for 34 years, said Wednesday that “it might be time to move on.”

Known as a conservative and thoughtful lawyer, Kuyper provided guidance to the county Board of Supervisors during the most explosive period in Orange County history. When he took over as county counsel in 1964, the county was largely agricultural and few envisioned the real estate and population boom that would transform it into a bustling urban area.

“It’s been very interesting and exciting over the years,” Kuyper said. “We’ve seen a lot of problems and issues as a result of the growth and changing laws.”

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Kuyper will leave on March 22 and has recommended that the supervisors appoint his chief assistant, William J. McCourt, to the post.

Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, the senior member of the Orange County board, said he would miss Kuyper’s advice.

“I have respected Adrian for his integrity, his professional excellence and his conservatism,” Riley said. “The county has certainly received outstanding advice from him over the years.”

Although Riley said it was too soon to settle on a replacement for Kuyper, he added that McCourt has also impressed board members during his 25 years of service.

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