Reinstated Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to begin transition

(KGO)
October 10, 2012 7:13:59 PM PDT
San Francisco's district attorney had strong words Wednesday following the board of supervisors' decision to reinstate Ross Mirkarimi as sheriff. George Gascon says he has grave concerns about Mirkarimi's ability to do his job while he is on probation for a domestic violence incident involving his wife.

Gascon says Mirkarimi must take steps to avoid a conflict of interest. "I am calling on Ross Mirkarimi to recuse himself from the duties of his office that relates to the custody, supervision, safety, and rehabilitation of domestic violence offenders," he said. It is against that backdrop Mirkarimi will try to retake the reins of the sheriff's office.

First, Mirkarimi says he will have some kind of legal response Gascon's suggestion that he recuse himself from all domestic violence cases related to the sheriff's department. However, the biggest challenge he will have may be taking charge of a department after a long 9-month absence. He says he's wasting no time in doing that.

Supporters cheered when Mirkarimi got his job back Tuesday night. Mayor Ed Lee needed nine votes to sustain his suspension. He got only seven. Wednesday, Mirkarimi showed up at his office to discuss the transition of power with acting Sheriff Vickie Hennessey. He said he also wants to mend fences with advocates of domestic violence victims. "I absolutely want to reach out and plan to, in a direct and personal way, with any of the leaders of the domestic violence community and anyone else who may have some doubt or concern about us being able to move forward," he said.

The supervisors who voted against Mirkarimi's suspension were David Campos, John Avalos, Christina Olague, and Jane Kim. Domestic violence activists like Kathy Black of La Casa de Las Madres were stunned by their decision. "Common sense thinking folks, I believe. It just doesn't make sense you would have a convicted domestic violence abuser leading the sheriff's department," she said.

"I'm disappointed at these four individual supervisors who, I think, found the way to find an excuse," Mayor Ed Lee said. When Lee was asked if he would support a recall, he declined to answer yes or no."I know that that had been discussed among private settings in the past and that's the public's prerogative to consider that," he said.

Supervisor Kim said she voted to give Mirkarimi his job back because she felt the city attorney's office which represented the mayor failed to make its case that this was indeed official misconduct. However, she said she would support a recall election. "I actually think the recall is the appropriate way to remove sheriff given what his wrongdoing was. I just don't think that, unfortunately, the removal process by the simple language of the charter, I just felt didn't allow us to do this last night," she said.

Mirkarimi will remain on probation for three more years while he's sheriff and he still can't carry a gun because of a court protective order, but he does still get his back pay.

If you're wondering how much all of this costs the city attorney's office in legal fees, the answer is $1.2 million.

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