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Butler County solicitor announces retirement

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 4:38 p.m.

Butler County Solicitor Julie Graham announced her retirement on Tuesday.

Graham, 55, of Adams said her last day in the office will be Dec. 31, but with vacation days due her for 2013, her official retirement date will be Feb. 8.

Graham, who earns $114,000 a year, has worked for Butler County for nearly 25 years. She worked four years as a grant writer for the county Planning Commission before becoming an assistant solicitor in 1992. She became one of two county solicitors in 1994 and the sole solicitor two years later.

Graham said she wants to spend more time with her family.

Graham has found herself a target of public criticism from Democratic minority Commissioner James Eckstein since he took office in January.

In September, Eckstein signed up as a member of the public to speak during a commission meeting and argued with Graham when she said he had the same three-minute time limit to speak that everyone else does.

Last week, Graham repeatedly urged Eckstein not to discuss a defamation lawsuit filed against him by fellow Commissioner A. Dale Pinkerton, but Eckstein ignored her.

“I'm not going to kid you and say that the last year hasn't been more difficult than most,” Graham said. “I've worked under seven (boards of commissioners,) and I've never been questioned or have people not take my advice like now. That's a hard thing.”

Graham is the second high-ranking county official to retire in recent weeks. Chief clerk/director of administration Bill O'Donnell retired Nov. 2, though he will be paid as a consultant to help finish drafting the 2013 county budget. He was replaced by Amy Wilson, Pinkerton's administrative assistant.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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