Penny Bohannon, Ventura County’s chief lobbyist, announced Friday that she will retire next month after 22 years in county government.
“It appears sudden, but it’s been creeping up on me,” the 55-year-old Bohannon said of her decision to step down.
She said she is leaving in part because of health problems. She was recently rushed to the hospital with what she believed at first was a heart attack but turned out to be acute angina.
Bohannon said it was enough to make her realize that it was time to slow down from what has become an increasingly stressful job, as government budgets shrink and services are continually cut.
“It’s just the nature of government these days,” she said, “doing more with less and still trying to keep the public happy. It’s been very difficult for everyone.”
She said she is looking forward to spending more time with her family and enjoying her hobbies.
Bohannon has worked as deputy administrative officer for government affairs--her formal title--for 11 years. As part of her job, she has served as the county’s chief liaison with state and federal lawmakers on local issues.
At one time, she said, she was the county’s only lobbyist. Now she oversees contracts with Sacramento and Washington, D.C., lobbying firms that provide services for the county.
Bohannon worked in Riverside County’s chief administrator’s office before coming to Ventura County.
Bohannon’s last day with the county will be March 7.