Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Office in the Aftermath of the Election

A couple of weeks have gone by now since the April 8th run-off election. The Assistant District Attorneys (especially the ones who have been there for over ten years) are coming to terms with the fact that whoever wins the election in November, that the jobs that they've known and loved for so long now will never be the same.

The term "End of an Era" has been uttered so many times now, that I'm really wishing I got paid a royalty fee for it, so I could retire wealthy.

Some people are comparing these next eight months at the Office as being akin to their Senior Year of High School. Others are comparing it to the final season of a long-running television show.

I can't decide which analogy I think is more appropriate. One of the Senior (Citizen) prosecutors pointed out that the Senior Year analogy wasn't appropriate, because the end of one's Senior Year had everyone looking hopefully towards the future.

That's just not the case within the Office at the moment.

Prosecutors are talking amongst themselves over whether or not they would stay under one a Bradford regime, but not a Lykos one, and vice versa. Some are placing phone calls to other counties and applying there. Some are applying with the Feds.

Some are just keeping their heads low and waiting to see what happens.

Others are talking about hanging out a shingle and starting their own businesses. People are stressing out about insurance and overhead.

Big cases and horrifying cases continue to be filed on a daily basis, and the prosecutors that handle them are wondering if they will even be around to try them when the case finally makes it to trial. They are all hopeful that if it isn't them that gets to try the case that a good replacement will step up to the plate.

The first actual departure was Amy Smith from Victim Witness. I know of several that will be coming in the following months.

With each departure, the place loses a little bit of its identity and character, and it feels like a family member is moving away from home.

Of course that family member is still in your life, but it just isn't the same once you all aren't under the same roof, is it?

7 comments:

Ron in Houston said...

While I understand the feelings toward Lykos (especially since some of the older people remember her reign), it's a shame that people just don't take a wait and see attitude about Bradford.

Although, given how long a job search takes, I can understand the people sharpening their resumes and sending out feelers.

Mark Bennett said...

When did the Holmes-Rosenthal DA's office jump the shark?

No later than 2000, when it took a misdemeanor DWI to a grand jury (!) to get political cover for dumping a Republican kingmaker's case.

Earlier than that?

Leviathan said...

I can appreciate how they feel, but somehow I've been able to remember that the job is not my life. It is simply a part of my life that allows me to enjoy the other parts of my life. It doesn't define; it facilitates.

I'm siding with Ron. I've never worked for anyone who hired me to do what I wanted; they always hired me to do what they wanted done. It's far too early to know whether the new DA, someone with whom most will rarely interact, will create an untenable environment. They need to let go of some of the anxiety (self-inflicted; within their control), which apparently may be a greater distraction than who will win (hardly within their control).

Anonymous said...

You know applying with the feds is easy but actually getting hired can be quite an arduous task. Be prepared for several interviews for the same position, a long wait to see if you even got the job, and then a background check that could take months, like six to nine months. For ADA's who are thinking they'll just ease into a federal job, think again. The feds have a hurry-up-and-wait attitude. Nothing is easy or fast with the feds. Plus, it literally takes an act of Congress to get hired in the Southern District in Houston. So if you want to work for the Southern District be prepared to move to Laredo.

Mark Bennett said...

I'd rather work for Pat Lykos at the Harris County D.A.'s Office than move to Laredo.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

To clarify a couple of things, the mood at the Office that I was talking about dealt more of those folks higher up in the administration who have been there a long time. There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not one of the new administrations will "shake things up" to the point that they can't work there.

I agree with Anon 7:25 that the process for applying with the Feds is a bit arduous. I can't imagine them being in a big need for a Blooger, anyway. :-) And, as Mark points out, working for the Feds puts you at risk of getting shipped out to anywhere in the Country. Not real conducive to family life.

Grits is poking fun of this article on his site, but that's okay because he liked some of the other ones. I was just trying to show the uncertainty and stress going on in the Office at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Call it an end of an era or a loss of a friend. It is politics. Let's face it, Harris County prosecutors have been spoiled. In virtually every other metropolitan office there is fairly regular turnover at the top. Look at Bexar County. Until Susan Reed, they had a new DA every four years for twenty years! The Harris County office was lulled into a sense of security with Holmes and then the passing of the torch to Rosenthal.
The continuity brought stability and developed career prosecutors that did a far better job than most citizens realize. The citizens will be the ones ultimately affected by their voting choices.