Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 12/10/2010 07:17:57 PM PST
Public Defender Doreen Boxer is negotiating her resignation with San Bernardino County administrators, according to top county officials.
Those officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Boxer was given an ultimatum: Resign or be fired.
The negotiations come amid allegations of office mismanagement, hostile work environment and plummeting morale in the Public Defender’s Office, according to the county officials.
County spokesman David Wert said Friday that he could not comment on whether Boxer would resign or be fired, but that those allegations are not part of any employment-related discussions with her and that she had not resigned as of Friday.
“At this point, she’s still the public defender, as she has been over the last five years,” Wert said.
An item on the agenda for Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting lists the appointment of an interim public defender as a closed-session discussion topic.
Boxer could not be reached for comment Friday.
The board appointed Boxer public defender in March 2006, making her the first female public defender in the county’s history. She had previously worked as a deputy associate public defender in Orange County.
At the time of her hiring, Boxer was tasked with managing an office budget of $24million and supervising a staff of nearly 200.
In June, Boxer announced that due to budget woes her office would be eliminating 39 positions, 30 of which were
vacant, and it would likely mean delays in cases handled by her office.
Boxer succeeded John Roth, who was forced to resign in February 2005 after he hired an attorney with a criminal record. Gerald Farber was interim public defender until Boxer was hired.
Boxer’s hiring was seen by many as an opportunity for new, positive changes at the office, but over the years, Boxer and Assistant Public Defender Lauri Ferguson have been criticized by many of their subordinates, who complained of overly aggressive management styles and policies.
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