Retiring Santa Barbara County Superior Court Executive Officer Gary Blair will be replaced by his No. 2, Darrel Parker, when he retires next month.

Darrel Parker has been named executive officer for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. (Santa Barbara County Superior Court photo)

The Superior Court judges appointed Parker, who has served as a court administrator since 1999, most recently as chief deputy executive officer. Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles Superior Court and was involved in high-profile cases including Rodney King, Heidi Fleiss, Charles Keating and O.J. Simpson.

Once in Santa Barbara County, he helped handle operations for the Michael Jackson case in Santa Maria and worked with Blair to implement the court merger of municipal and superior courts into one system.

He also worked as the project manager for the Santa Maria Juvenile Court and clerk’s office in Santa Maria and has written articles on court community communication.

Parker, who will begin his new position July 1, expects to split his time between the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria Superior Courts since no one will be filling his previous position, he said.

Three days a week he’ll be in Blair’s office, which will probably always seem like Blair’s office instead of his own, Parker said. He’s excited to take on the new position and continue his work, even though it’s a difficult time for the court system.

“I am honored that the judges of Santa Barbara Superior Court have put their trust in me to serve this court in a higher capacity,” he said. “It is especially challenging during these economically difficult times. I look forward to working with the bench, the legal community and the dedicated professional employees of this organization to serve the community and provide access to justice for all citizens where they can resolve their disputes and reconcile relationships.”

Presiding Judge Arthur Garcia said Parker is well-liked and respected by his colleagues, so the change should be a seamless transition.

In addition to his court work, Parker has served on the board for the Santa Maria Valley Youth and Family Center, been a member of Santa Maria’s Elks Lodge for 15 years, coached for the Orcutt United Soccer League and served as a leader for the Boy Scouts of America’s Orcutt Troop 93.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.