Monday, May 16, 2011

An Anonymous Open Letter to the Pat Lykos Administration

NOTE:  I received the following Anonymous letter to the Pat Lykos Administration on Friday.  I do not know who the author is, and I won't publish any speculation about who it is in the comments section.  I did think it was an interesting perspective on how the trial court prosecutors are feeling these days.

An Open Letter to the 6th Floor:

Dear Admin[istration],
It is a little awkward to write this letter, but it is becoming even more awkward to pretend like we can keep going on like this.  So, I will say what we both know:  I am moving on.

It's true, this job has always been a sacrifice.  And long before you took office, many fine attorneys came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth that sacrifice.  And, although you never believed me, you really had no reason to be so jealous of my ex-admin.  Sure, some voted for Kelly, but almost none of us ever thought Rosenthal should have been anything more than a casual summer fling.

But here's what's different:  I just don't feel like you care anymore, Admin.  In fact, I know you don't.  You've had endless meetings with us where you demanded us to bring ideas, made us write memos, and then never implemented one change.  You conducted exit interview after exit interview (and there's been a lot of them now), with incredible feedback -- but still nothing.

Of course, I know about the economy, and I haven't been expecting steak dinners and roses and raises, but still, you don't even bother to do the easy free stuff.  When Commissioners' Court was talking about cutting us, all it would have taken was one meeting, just to say, "Here is the budget we were given.  We know you are short handed.  We know you are all now doing the work of 2 people.  And we want you to know that we recognize it and appreciate it.  And we want you to know we will do everything in our power to lay off as few people as possible."

That's it.  But instead, we labored for months thinking that there might be more layoffs to come.  And the only message coming from you has been "shut up and take it."  Oh, I guess there was one other message you conveyed at that time, which was that you wanted the division chiefs to tell us you felt we were not speaking to you in the manner befitting someone in your position.  Charming.

It's not just the lack of caring, or communication, it's also the lack of respect.  You have no idea the caliber of professionals you have (well, used to have) working for you.  There are so many people with incredible talents who could help you out.  All you would have had to do is ask, and we would have gladly worked for you and made you look like a super-star.  Instead, because you can't imagine anyone could possibly be smarter/better writer/media person/etc., you don't ask until it's too late.

For example, it would never occur to you to use any of the amazing statistics Kristin Guiney gathered about us being the lowest-staffed DA's office in the country when you presented to Commissioners' Court, even though this should have been the most important presentation of your career.  Never occurred to you to ask ADAs who are doing the work how to best implement policy.

Your stunning arrogance is the driving force behind your inability to think that anyone else has anything to contribute.

I guess when we first started our relationship, I just couldn't believe that all those bad things they said could be true about one person.  Tyrannical AND nasty AND arrogant AND worst-judge-ever-to-work-for AND poor attorney?  I didn't think it could possibly be true all in one person.  And so I stayed, to learn the brutal truth for myself.

I should have seen it coming.  As a student of Chairman Mao history, I knew the inevitable implosion of an entity run by a crazy and absolutist dictator, especially in times of famine.  Crazy reliance on manufactured meaningless statistics, inability to trust anyone, constantly being told it is our fault if we are starving, because everyone else is happy.

I know what you're thinking -- you're thinking "so what, there are other fish in the sea."  You've certainly mentioned the "300 resumes" on your desk enough times in our "Shut Up and Be Happy" meetings.  But those resumes won't file motions or make RIP calls.  And who is going to try all those murders and rapes and agg robs?  Because the people you are about to lose the most of are your Felony 2s and 3s.  You know, the people who were first time 3s for a year, then misdemeanor chiefs under the Regime of No Discretion, and the second time 3s.  Then maybe, if they're "lucky" they can go straight from that to being a new 2 in the trial bureau with no pay raise?

Honestly, I don't think you understand that of all your sins, one of the things that has the biggest impact on employee retention is your inability to move people wisely and when needed.  I know movement is stagnated, so just give people some predictability.  Felony 3s -- six months up, six down, for however long it takes.  Felony 2s -- 1 year in the trial bureau and then out.  Recognize the burnout courts.

So who's going to try all these cases when all the mid-level people leave?  Because now the office is so top-heavy, so stacked with people who don't handle cases, but simply second-guess those of us who do.

Well, I wish you luck with all your legions of new ADAs.  I am sure they will work out as wonderfully as the misfits who have been hired by your "hiring committee" of one.  Clearly, 15 minutes with Chow is such a great way to replicate the pressure of jury trial. 

Really, Admin, I wish it could have worked out.  And I wish I could say "it's not you, it's me," except, it is you.

It is all you.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote this described with amazing accuracy the way the rank and file prosecutors feel.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing letter. It is well-written and ALL TRUE. I wish I would have written something half as potent when I left. Whoever wrote this letter, thank you!

Just Sayin' said...

And there you fucking have it boys and girls!
At least our dockets will be less burdensome with DIVERT and no crack residue turds.
It really is cool that the Harris County crackheads have agreed to change their ways and get 9-5 jobs to support their habits. Patsy's guarantee that her crackhead buddies have promised to stop robbing and burglering for their rocks is demonstrative of her leadership skills.
I predict that Patsy's leadership will reverse the jail overcrowding issue and in fact there will be so few inmates housed the County will be able to convert most of the jail space to affordable public housing units--Rick Casey's dream will be fullfilled.

Just Sayin'

Anonymous said...

Valid criticisms or not, that letter comes across as childish and whiny, and hardly as one expected from a professional.

Anonymous said...

I hear the term a lot, can someone explain what the "DIVERT" program is?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:44 Realy? That is rich. Clearly you must be part of the "leadership team" for the Lykos administration. Good Lord, if you want to talk about a lack of professionalism, look no further than your Camel smoking, Jack and Coke drinking miserable excuse for a prosecutor, and political whore, who does not want to get into a "urinating match with the Sheriff", Pat Lykos. Oh and Pat, you are a former Judge and now the elected DA. As far as the respect you deserve, It will be a cold day in Hell before I call you Judge.

Anonymous said...

ANON 1:44

Is that you, Mr. Leitner?

What the fuck do you know? When is the last time you tried a case?

Anonymous said...

To: All DA staff
From: Admin

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Anonymous said...

well put. simply well put.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea the caliber of professionals you have (well, used to have) working for you.

i.e., all remaining employees are not good prosecutors.

...so many people with incredible talents who could help you out... we would have gladly worked for you and made you look like a super-star.

i.e., I'm awesome and incredibly talented and could have made you look great because I'm awesome.


Lykos certainly needs to go, but this is definitely a self-aggrandizing titty baby letter.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Is Lykos still attending the rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Anonymous said...

Is Lykos still attending the rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Anonymous said...

Well said and true. Wish I could leave, but have family to feed.

Current Employee

BLACK INK said...

Anon 6:12,

1.Feeding one's family does not require an individual to prostitute him/herself.

2. Adversity reveals one's character.

3. The mediocrity of victimhood does not breed success.

4. Respect is earned; but that cuts both ways.

5. To risk nothing is to be nothing.

Anonymous said...

Black Ink, you should try to live by those maxims. Maybe you would actually do something about the problems in Harris County if you didn as opposed to crying on this and other blogs about the days gone by.

BLACK INK said...

"Black Ink, you should try to live by those maxims. Maybe you would actually do something about the problems in Harris County if you didn as opposed to crying on this and other blogs about the days gone by."

If I were a "current employee" of Pat Lykos; perhaps your conclusions would be sound.....that is not the case.

It is very true that Pat Lykos' leadership disgusts me on every level. I have chosen to voice my opposition to Lykos on this blog and other venues without apologies.
I have not minced my words, made excuses or sacrificed my principles in the process.......and THAT was my point.

The problem at the Harris County District Attorney's Office is FEAR.
The problem at the Harris County voting booth is apathy and ignorance.
The unacceptable result is Pat Lykos job security.

I find it incredulous after all that has transpired at the HCDAO that professionals who call themselves prosecutors are content with staying under the radar.

Harris County is best served by a team of prosecutors who are fearless in their pursuit of justice; NOT fearful of their elected DA.

So if I were to run for Harris County DA in 2012 would you openly stand up to support the campaign?
We both know the answer to that rhetorical question so you can keep your seat.

Chow Hire Misfit said...

Hey, Chow Hire Misfit here. You don't know me because there are no DA events and I'm not allowed to work intake. Oh, and I work a million hours because I have 1,000 open cases and I'm pretty much the only one left in misdemeanor.

The Chow hires are probably the best thing this administration has done. This group is the only reason I am holding on, and we are the only reason misdemeanor hasn't collapsed.

We made it past the 300 resumes also. Too bad we can barely sign resets. We became DAs for the same reasons you did, but it's hard to remember that now... It was so long ago... Maybe they think that we don't have other options. Maybe they just don't care.

Anonymous said...

Black In....here is what you just dont get.

I do great work at the DA's office. I make my community safer and seek justice every day. The problem is not just the new administration, but rather a mix of the old and the new. The place may be miserable, and if I leave they will find someone to fill my assignment. The question is will that person be able to do it as well as I do?

The answer is no. My skills have been developed by some of the most talented this country has to offer and with years of experience. So when a child needs someone to stand for them, or a family has lost a loved one, I will be here. I am a professional, not a politician. I chose not to openly revolt because the result will be my victims pay the price.

A Real Prosecutor

Anonymous said...

Black In....here is what you just dont get.

I do great work at the DA's office. I make my community safer and seek justice every day. The problem is not just the new administration, but rather a mix of the old and the new. The place may be miserable, and if I leave they will find someone to fill my assignment. The question is will that person be able to do it as well as I do?

The answer is no. My skills have been developed by some of the most talented this country has to offer and with years of experience. So when a child needs someone to stand for them, or a family has lost a loved one, I will be here. I am a professional, not a politician. I chose not to openly revolt because the result will be my victims pay the price.

A Real Prosecutor

Anonymous said...

I am astounded at the pure and simple accuracy of this open letter. It's puts into words the feelings of the majority past and present employees with such eloquence.

Sadly, Patricia Lykos and her minions will dismiss it as usual.

Thank you to the writer.

Anonymous said...

Hey how come Lykos has State Judge plates on her big Cadillac? She ain't even a visiting Judge now. Seems highly improper.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:12 I thought Kelly Siegler left the DA's office.

BLACK INK said...

Dear Real Prosecutor,

Charley Sheen also thought he was irreplaceable.
In realty, anyone can be replaced except one's children.

The issue is not simply whether or not you or any individual ADA has the requisite skill and/or experience to perform the job of a prosecutor; it is whether or not the OFFICE as a TEAM actually PERFORMS at the highest level possible.

A veteran ADA who curls up in the safety of a self-righteous cocoon oblivious to his crumbling surroundings shirks the professional responsibility inherent to the job......every man for himself does not serve the best interest of the DA's office or our community.
A REAL prosecutor, sir, ought to be better than that.

Harris County is bigger than ANY individual ADA and for Justice to be adequately served the County needs more than a few timid highly trained ADAs.

The District Attorney's Office must be a cohesive unit with mutual respect and honor whose mission transcends self interest in the collective pursuit of justice........THAT serves the best interests of the victims of Harris County.

Anonymous said...

If Black Ink is not a current Harris County A.D.A., why does he hide behind a pseudonym and blast real prosecutors for not leaving? What does he have to lose by "outing" himself?

Anonymous said...

All of you whiny asses who are now complaining about how awful your job is deserve what you get if you weren't one of the ones campaigning against Lykos. You were warned how egomaniacal and incompetent she would be. So, shut your pie holes and do your jobs without bitching or shut the fuck up and quit.

Anonymous said...

Please Everyone. Each one of us should just ask themselves whether or not the office is better off than it was back under Holmes or Rosenthal. If you can answer that question with a "yes" than you are either sticking your head in the sand or frankly, you were promoted.

The office is not and will never be the place of integrity, team work, do the right thing it use to be under this individual. I will, for one, vote for anyone but Patty. Regardless if its a Republican or not. Anythging has to be better than what the county has now.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:35, How does Black Ink's anonymity in any way excuse your chicken shit arrogance? Quit showing your ass the man is obviously pro law enforcement and anti titty baby. Even Rage's earlier comment in this thread is spot on--revealing his identity won't recover your balls either.
Maybe it's you who needs to stop hiding in the closet if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:10 nailed it and the arrogant one who calls himself "real prosecutor" is no comparison.

Anonymous said...

So if I were to run for Harris County DA in 2012 would you openly stand up to support the campaign?

Our choices are between Lykos and you?

Please see: False dichotomy.

Thanks,

Rage

Anonymous said...

+1 to Black Ink

Anonymous said...

Rage:

Please see:
a.) rhetorical
b.) out of context
c.) sarcasm
d.) concrete thought

Then go fuck yourself.

Thanks,
Reality

Anonymous said...

What the public needs to understand is that an over-burdened, over worked DA's office with very low morale and incompetent leadership leads to more criminals serving less time or getting acquittals.

The front line prosecutors are the number 2's in felony court. They are in the trenches dealing with murders, sexual assault of children and many other serious cases. They are asked to do this job with low pay, zero back up from the "administration" and constantly looking over their shoulder.

In my opinion, this is the position that one should take in informing the public of the seriousness of the incompetence by the elected DA.

Harris County is not a safer place with Lycos running the show.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:03,
Re-read Anon 12:56. You are as idealistic as Black Ink.

Rage,
Are you really that myopic or do you just want to be relevant so badly logic is not an issue for you?

1201 Franklin,
No one respects a passive-aggressive cry baby. Shit or get off the pot people.

Anonymous said...

11:58 here. Black Ink, you and your buddies missed some very big points. Nowhere did I'd say you were a current employee. In fact, employment status is not a requirement of trying to change the system. Indeed, the very fact that you are not an employee means you have even less to lose, and even less of an excuse for your inaction. You could even publish your name without recourse, for example, if you had the balls to do so.

Yes, I am anonymous, but I am a current employee. No, not the cry baby who wrote the letter and not the one calling themselves a real prosecutor, either.

But it should be known that there are hose of us here who are doing ok. Yeah, the extra hours suck. Yes, Lykos sucks. But you're no better. You have nothing to lose if you're not here, and you're just shouting insults from the peanut gallery, as far as we're concerned. So do something. Or don't do anything. We don't care. But stop acting like you know so much about it, because if you're not here, you don't.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:10,

I hate to break it to you but your little titty baby world is not a secret society of Bonesmen.
Now get back in your corner and zip it or I'll let Patsy know you're playing on the computer again.

Murray, what's up with these guys? Who knew prosecutors, real or otherwise, were such victims?

John 8:32 said...

Murray,

What do you think Lykos, Leitner and the other Losers on the 6th floor would do if all the ADAs said, "We're not afraid of you goons anymore. We have had enough. We are going to do our jobs the right way from now on. Justice is too important to be politicized"?

Lykos rules by terror but there is a limit to her madness. The woman needs warm bodies and cannot afford to lose too many more ADAs. Even if she had a 1,000 applications on her desk daily who would train the new hires? Hannah? Jimmy? Patsy? Puhleeze!

The strength of a peoples' unity in a just cause is a tyrant's greatest fear.

Anonymous said...

4:01, did you not read what I typed? Because it's the opposite of titty baby. I do my job every dayt--literally some weeks. I just want both the cry babies like the letter writer and constant whiners like Black Ink to shut up. Or so something about their uneducated gripes, hell, I don't care. But trading shots on a blog is stupid. It's as stupid to do it in a holier-than-thou letter about leaving as it is to do it in holier-than-thou anonymous criticisms. Black Ink is no better than the quitters. He's worse, in fact, because at least the quitters took action and all Black Ink does is sit back and whine.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:58,

Your mini rants to justify personal failure to act reveal a desperation to excuse a weak character. Ironically, the so called quitters are actually the ones with the strength of character you covet.

Black Ink and others who voice their disgust at the pathetic cowering that now defines the Harris County ADA represent an open assault on you and that makes your reality even more difficult to deal with.

It is time to address the message not the messengers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:35: Amen--well said. I love how some of these Lykos folks know that this letter is spot-on, so they instead choose to try to lamely attack the messenger. Hilarious.

It the "everyone just shut up and take it" attitude of Anon 6:58 that is so unbelievably annoying. Guess what 6:58? If you don't like hearing criticisms, STOP READING THIS BLOG. You sound just like Palmer and her associates, with your "everyone should pretend to be happy attitude." Yes, you show up every day and work hard. So does everyone else around here. But in my view, you are either too junior to know how improperly and poorly run this place is, or you are close enough to the admin to be benefitting from the inner circle. Or maybe you are married to RP herself...

Anonymous said...

I'm not a titty baby I'm not I'm not! I'm a big bad prosecutor!

Waa waa waa!

Black Ink is a meanie!

Geeze grow the fuck up already.

Twilight Zoned said...

There once was a titty baby called ADA,
His balls were made out of clay.

Lykos squeezed them tight as she may,
The poor lad had nothing to say.

Into the oven with a wimpering nay,
Out came his balls not worth the pay.

Patsy the troll and wee man Jimmay,
Can't help but laugh as they roll in the hay.

Anonymous said...

It's hilarious to watch you people gang up on one of your own for expressing a different opinion.

Talk about titty babies.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Rage,

Please see Anons 8:26 and 7:51supra.

Talk about hillarious.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Rage,

Please see Anons 8:26 and 7:51 supra.

Talk about hillarious.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Another piece of the puzzle: Rage is a ginger.

Anonymous said...

"Another piece of the puzzle: Rage is a ginger."

Y'all are putting a Rage puzzle together?

Anonymous said...

It the "everyone just shut up and take it" attitude of Anon 6:58 that is so unbelievably annoying.


Uhhh, that's not what he/she said at all. I believe they said "shut up and do something."

But like a previous poster mentioned, y'all are too busy freaking out that someone in the office isn't as big a cry baby as the rest of you, so you're feeding on your own instead of addressing the issues.

And you're certainly not doing anything, as 6:58 suggested.

Grow some balls.

Anonymous said...

What I really like is the promotees and admin are starting to feel the pressure of political season. Why would they be? Because they are all worried that their sins of 2008 past are about to come bavk to bite them in the buttocks.

Rank and file: check out the org chart from Jan 2009. Those who screwed the former real leaders will be walking the plank when the real candidate and formerADA comes out to run against the pretender.

Be ready to show your dislike for the current adminass. You will like the candidate running. Just have faith and know anythg is better than what we have.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:34 a/k/a Rage,

As a eunuch do you not see the irony in your lame suggestion?

Anonymous said...

If all the good prosecutors leave, who is going to be around to tell the anti Lykos candidate all the dirt?

Anonymous said...

I just can't write what I want to-but steam is coming out my ears. So glad to be gone from Harris County clutches!!!!

I am truly sorry for the very talented folks that have been dumped on by this admin.