The Bee wrote about John’s entry to the race this afternoon:
You’ve already seen Patrick’s statement on John’s entry, (you can read it again here:), but we should point out what John and Birgit say about one another. John correctly points out that Birgit’s leadership has led to dramatic turnover at the office, with one-third of the attorneys there having less than one year of experience.
Think about that. One in three D.A.’s trying cases in Stanislaus County have been an attorney for less than a year. Why? Because the turnover is so bad that the office can’t keep people who have a chance of escaping to another county. Birgit claims this is entirely due to pay, but these D.A.’s aren’t exactly fleeing to richer counties. The issue, as John (who has been training a lot of these younger lawyers, although he hasn’t had any experience managing them) knows. The work environment is so toxic that attorneys will do anything to get out, including giving up on their dream of being a prosecutor. The end result is a less experienced, less capable prosecutorial team, which means less convictions and more criminals out on the street, with lots of wasted tax dollars along the way.
In attacking John, Birgit correctly points out that he has never been seen in a managerial role. Even though John is one of the longest-serving prosecutors in the office, he has never had the experience of managing a team, much less a department. John has definitely racked up some big wins in court, but he now wants to leave that experience behind, costing our county another strong litigator and putting someone without management experience in charge of one of our most important agencies. That didn’t work out well when Birgit was elected, which led to our current problem. We shouldn’t do it again.
Our District Attorney’s office needs to change its internal culture, and to become a place that not only retains its attorney, but that gives them the tools to succeed in court. The agency needs a strong, proven leader who can build bridges, not the survivor of an internal civil war. As an outsider with proven management experience, Patrick can bridge both the internal divides that have led John to run against his once-favored boss, and the external breaks between the District Attorney’s office and the rest of the criminal justice community. At the same time, Patrick can restore good financial management and bring much-needed transparency to the finances and operations of the office.
This is not a time for more of the same. It’s time that we all joined in and made our county safer, together.