Longtime county attorney to retire

Blair MItchell

Warren County leaders will need to find a new government attorney this spring.

County Attorney Blair Mitchell announced Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting that he plans to retire at the end of April. While the news came as a surprise to some, Mitchell said Wednesday that he’s been considering retirement for some time.

“I’ve been talking about it for about a year now and … several board members talked me out of it last year,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell turns 66 in April. The veteran litigator has clocked in almost 31 years as a local government attorney and close to 40 years as a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Mitchell worked as assistant and then deputy county attorney for Stafford County from 1984 through 1999 and as the town attorney for Front Royal from September 2000 through early January 2007. He started with Warren County in mid January 2007.

“It was time,” Mitchell said. “I’ve got some household chores, mostly repairs and renovations, remodeling that we’ve been putting off and putting off just because I haven’t had time to do it. Some gardening and stuff like that that I really have not been able to do because of being here.”

Mitchell broached the issue of his retirement plans with the board in closed sessions earlier this year.

“In January it was just to let them know the time has come,” Mitchell recalled.

At the closed session earlier this month, Mitchell talked to the board about how and where the county could advertise for the position that could help in the search for his successor and the best way to find the right person for the job. The county posted the job listing on its website as well as on a service for the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia on Wednesday. The latter venue reaches more than 700 lawyers who are members of organization, many of whom assist municipal governments in legal matters, Mitchell said.

The Board of Supervisors appoints the county attorney, who provides legal advice and represents the board, constitutional officers, county administrator and department leaders, the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and other panels. The county attorney performs any number of legal services for the local government.

The advertisement for the position indicates that applicants must be a graduate of an accredited law school and a member of the Virginia State Bar. The board also prefers applicants have at least five years of experience practicing law, particularly in local government and civil litigation.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com