RIVERSIDE -

Riverside County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Larry Ward announced Thursday he will not seek a third term in office.

``It is time for me to step aside after dedicating the last nine years to doing absolutely the best job I could,'' Ward said.

The 64-year-old was appointed to the position in 2005, following the retirement of then-assessor Gary Orso. Ward was first elected in 2006, handily beating his opponent in the June primary. He ran unopposed in his 2010 re- election bid.

He has worked in county government for 35 years.

Ward said that although he had planned to seek election to a third term, his feelings changed after weighing the ``challenges'' that lay ahead over the next five years -- a point on which he didn't elaborate -- adding that he wanted to spend more time with his wife and three grandchildren.

Ward endorsed Assistant Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Peter Aldana in the June primary.

``Peter has been in the office for 25 years and shares the respect and passion that I have for the important work we do,'' he said. ``He has all the experience and credentials the job demands.''

The Riverside County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder's Office is responsible for tallying property values, issuing marriage and fictitious business licenses, processing passport applications, among other things.

Ward will leave office at the end of the year.