Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lose The Election, Lose Your Job

I guess we'll never know whether District Attorney elect Joyce Dudley would have sent her opponent, Chief Trial Deputy Josh Lynn, packing after vanquishing him at the polls. Acting District Attorney Ann Bramsen beat her to it. On Tuesday night she fired Lynn. We've seen the injury, bring on the insult.

Bramsen's explanation for Lynn's termination was about as empty as the Oak Park wading pool during the month of February. Her story that Lynn was ordered not to report to work on Monday, to take a mandatory day off with pay, "simply for the purpose of reviewing the administrative organization of the District Attorney's Office and to avoid any possible disruption or impairment of the working relationships among District Attorney staff," simply doesn't hold water.

Ever since she took office in February, Bramsen knew that between Dudley and Lynn one of them would win and the other one would lose. What is she trying to say, that she needed an extra day to figure out how to handle it?

I mean, what is up with that? When Sally defeats Johnny in the election for fifth grade class president at Adams School, is Johnny told not come to class the next day?

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The building which is headquarters to the DA's office was completed within the last 10 years and is one of the most spacious public edifices you'll ever find. Is it suddenly not big enough to hold both Lynn and Dudley?

And that landscaping outside the building is gorgeous but I can tell you, there is obviously one plant that is missing, an olive branch.

According to Bramsen, it was Lynn's act of going to the media and "twisting" his forced day on the beach in an "inappropriate way that negatively impacted the office," that caused her to ultimately give him the axe. To be sure, Lynn did tell KEYT News that he was "shocked" by Bramsen's order that he take a day off. So that was Lynn's crime, articulating what was on everyone else's mind? Or was it simply that he didn't want to accept a gift of public funds?

In the history of Santa Barbara County government, has anyone ever been fired so quickly over so little?

To be sure, Lynn didn't win any friends with the negative campaign that he ran against Dudley but the voters saw through that and repudiated his tactics. Is double punishment really called for?

And for an official like Bramsen who plays such a large role in making sure that the punishment fits the crime, it sure doesn't sound like the punishment equalled the "crime" in this case.

A year ago Lynn was successfully prosecuting the notorious Jesse James Hollywood. Now he's standing in the either the unemployment line or the line at the courthouse waiting to file his wrongful termination suit.

No matter what you think of Lynn and his negative campaign, he deserved better than this.

© 2010 by Craig Smith and