The Board of Supervisors Tuesday hired the interim Orange County Public Defender, who has led the office for nearly a year.

Martin Schwarz was appointed interim public defender last June to succeed Sharon Petrosino, who retired the following month.

Schwarz was also in the running for the job when Petrosino was appointed in 2016.

Schwarz received a raise from $247,145.60 to $253,968 in the three-year contract approved by the board.

“For the last year, I’ve had the privilege of working with Mr. Schwarz and I found him to be very collaborative,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes told the supervisors, who approved the contract unanimously.

“He is professional and I have tremendous respect for him and the job he has done and I look forward to working with him for many years,” Barnes said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do said Schwarz was selected from a pool of four finalists.

“Through our interview of the four finalists, Mr. Schwarz really rose to the top of the list,” Do said.

“It wasn’t planned or pre-arranged, but the sheriff coming here voicing support for Mr. Schwarz’s appointment” adds to “numerous accolades” from court officials, he said.

Do said two judges who have overseenw operations during the COVID-19 pandemic “spoke very highly of Mr. Schwarz.”

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley also praised Schwarz, saying he “has significant experience in the public defender’s office.”

Foley said she conducted her own survey of defense attorneys in the area, and “he seems very highly recommended and qualified… I think he has a collaborative spirit and will be an excellent choice.”

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