Mirkarimi says he won't step down during trial

January 24, 2012 8:42:03 PM PST
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee met with Sheriff Ross Mirkirimi Tuesday to talk to him about stepping down while he fights domestic violence charges. But Mirkarimi left the meeting saying he's not going anywhere.

It was D Day for Lee -- time for a heart to heart talk with the new embattled about his future.

"It's an opportune time for the mayor, and I would say this for any elected official and any department head, if they are so distracted and I see that happening, I would ask them to consider making a personal decision of their own," Lee said. "I don't want to put pressure on the sheriff; I think he's got enough."

But there is no doubt the mayor wants Mirkarimi to take a leave while he fights charges of domestic abuse.

Mirkarimi says the afternoon meeting in the mayor's office was cordial. He said the mayor did not ask him to step down, nor did he offer to.

"At any time I am putting in well over 40 hours a week here in the office; it's not a straight 8-5 job, and I make sure that at any time that I'm attending to issues that are not job-related, I'm back here," Mirkarimi said.

Monday, a judge scheduled the trial to begin Feb. 24. The mayor questions how Mirkarimi can balance his legal case and duties of the department.

"Clearly the trial date has already been set and I think all the proceedings leading up to that are going to be numerous, they seem to be, every week there's more steps to be taken so I think the distraction is there is pretty heavy already," Lee said.

While the sheriff is refusing to step aside, he is willing to make concessions.

"At any point where I am focused, where my time is in the trial, that I think it's only principled that I would not take pay while I'm in trial, absolutely," Mirkarimi said.

Mirkarimi also said he would recuse himself from any disciplinary cases that the sheriff would conduct. There are about six of those cases each year.