Stanislaus County Officials Sworn-In

Janie Costa/

A series of Stanislaus County elected officials were sworn-in to serve their new terms earlier this month.

The officials include Donald Gaekle as Assessor, Birgit Fladager as District Attorney, Adam Christianson as Sheriff-Coroner, Lauren Klein as Auditor-Controller, Lee Lundrigan as Clerk-Recorder, Gordon B. Ford as Treasurer-Tax Collector, Tom Changnon as Superintendent of Schools, and Terry Withrow and Dick Monteith, as Board of Supervisors for District 3 and 4, respectively.

Gaekle was originally appointed by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors as Assessor in October of 2013, he previously served as Assistant Assessor of Valuation from December 2011 through October 2013. Primary duties of the position include administering State property tax laws. Gaekle ran against Turlock City Councilmember Amy Bublak, winning with 63.30 percent of the vote.

First elected in 2006 as the first female District Attorney elected in Stanislaus County, Fladager will start her third term as District Attorney in 2015. After serving in the Navy, the McGeorge School of Law graduate worked in the District Attorney’s office beginning in 1990; she was promoted to chief deputy in 1999.

Of note, Fladager was part of the successful prosecution team for the nationally publicized murder trial of Scott Peterson, who is now on death row for killing his wife Laci and unborn son.

Fladager received 70.85 percent of the vote running against opponent Attorney Frank C. Carson.

Christianson was first sworn-in as Sheriff-Coroner in 2006, re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He got his start in law enforcement working with the Ceres and Modesto Police Departments, eventually joining the Sheriff’s Department in 1996.

During his time, Christianson has worked in a variety of different capacities including patrol, bailiff, on the Reservoir Unit, as a K9 Unit Supervisor and handler. He has also worked as a Field Training Officer, hi-tech crimes detective, as well as Sergeant and Lieutenant.

Christianson he received 66.31 percent of the vote against opponent Deputy Tom Letras.

Klein was first elected as Auditor-Controller in 2010. As a Certified Public Accountant, having worked in the public and private sectors, Klein is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association, County Auditors Association of California and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

For four years prior to her current position, Klein worked for the County as Internal Audit Manager. Running unopposed she received 98.79 percent of the vote,

Lundrigan, a native of Escalon holds a law degree from Humphrey's Law College and has worked as a former criminal prosecutor for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office where she led the domestic violence task force. Since 1990, she has served as Chair to the Stanislaus County Bar Association's Legislative Committee.

Running unopposed, Lundrigan, first elected in 2002, received 98.83 percent of the vote.

First appointed as Treasurer-Tax Collector in 2005, Ford, running unopposed received 98.62 percent of voter approval.

Changnon, first elected as Superintendent in 2006, won reelection unopposed with 98.24 percent of the vote.

His position entails overseeing the Stanislaus County Office of Education which has a staff of 855 and a budget over $245 million that 26 school districts throughout the County. Under his jurisdiction, there are 188 schools, for a total of more than 105,000 students.

Withrow received 65.37 percent of the vote against Scott Calkins, and Monteith received 58.98 percent against Dave Lopez.

Originally elected in 2010, embarking on his second term, Withrow was elected Chairman to the Board of Supervisors; Monteith, first elected in 2006, beginning his third term, was elected as Vice Chairman.

Withrow, an almond and grape farmer, and California State University, Stanislaus graduate, became a Certified Public Accountant in 1984 and formed the Modesto accounting firm of Ciccarelli and Withrow in 1990.

Monteith, born in Los Banos, Calif. has had a life-long career in agribusiness, and was originally elected to the 12th California State Senate District in 1994 serving until he was termed-out in 2002.

Of note, Supervisor Jim DeMartini was also recognized for his service to the Board during the past year as Chairman. 

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