At 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve of the worst year of my life, Ken Magidson fired me from a job that I had held and deeply loved for a little over nine years.
Today, I learned that President Obama has nominated him to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.
President Obama could not have made a better selection.
Ken Magidson came to the Harris County District Attorney's Office in a time when the Office was experiencing discord and turmoil unequalled in its history. Hell, it was probably experiencing more discord and turmoil than any District Attorney's Office had ever experienced in its history.
And like the Captain of a ship at sea in the middle of a hurricane, Ken Magidson calmed the passengers and rode out the storm with a leadership that was desperately needed at the time. He told us to all sit down, shut up, do the right thing, and this too would pass.
And he was right.
As the scandal of Chuck Rosenthal was impugned upon every last Assistant District Attorney's integrity, he was the calm in the Storm. He assumed the leadership of an Office in crisis and led it back to stability. He was a stranger and an outsider to those of us who were too young to have known him when he had worked at the Office, but his leadership skills calmed and reassured us all. He made us all stop focusing on the scandal that didn't affect our day-to-day job and go back to doing what we had sworn an oath to do.
With his offbeat manner and strange habit of snapping two fingers and then clapping his hands as he spoke, he got all of us re-focused in a time that was very difficult to focus. He became a leader of people that did not know him, and he did it seamlessly.
He was a prosecutor's prosecutor that had us all refocused on doing the task at hand. Despite our personal differences (and argument over the definition of the First Amendment), I loved the guy. The Harris County District Attorney's Office would be in a much better place than it is now if only Magidson had remained in charge of it.
On a personal level, the way I feel about Ken Magidson will always trouble me. I liked him. I respected him. I was sad that my relationship with him ended on a bad note.
On a professional level, he is a leader that I would follow into battle at a moment's notice.
I wish him the best in his new position, and think that any politician who would question his ability to do his job is a fool.
He is a good man who will make any institution he leads better through his leadership.