Myers: Take responsibility, Colleen
October 13, 2005
Editor’s note: This was originally submitted as an “open letter” to District Attorney Colleen Truden.Of the nine years I’ve known you, it was only last year that I learned you are self-serving and have little regard for the truth. Knowing your positive qualities, I suspect many people believe what you say about me and the lawyers who worked for me. The public deserves to hear both sides. They can make their own decisions about your fitness for office.Colleen, I am not behind the recall movement. I support it. I read the papers and I talk to friends. I know a number of the people who organized the recall. I occasionally talk with reporters. I don’t go out of my way to criticize you, but I respond publicly to specific lies and misrepresentations you publicly make about me or my administration. I am flattered that you think that I, being 300 miles from Glenwood, could influence 9,000 people to sign a recall petition. Although I supported Lawson Wills in the primary last year, you will recall that I was among the first to congratulate you on your victory. You will also recall that I spent 2 1/2 months trying to get you to begin the transition before you finally came in for a meeting in late October last year. You will also recall that you did not choose to meet with me again until Dec. 8, and then you walked out when I confronted you about lying to members of my staff and to others in the community. You will also recall that through all your churlishness, I consistently told you that I wanted you to succeed because prosecution is a calling, not a job. I have been a prosecutor for 19 of my 26 years as a lawyer, and I do not enjoy seeing prosecutors, even those in name only like you, being ridiculed in the press. Your conduct is an affront to the hundreds of prosecutors in this state who go the extra mile every day to do justice.You accused lawyers who worked for me, but chose to stay with you, of lying and being lazy. Those five individuals were excellent attorneys. They offered your office a depth of experience and record of achievement that takes years to build. They wanted to remain with you and continue their careers. Those five had over 35 years of prosecution experience. They wanted to help you succeed because they too understand that prosecution is a calling, not just a job. Their integrity is beyond reproach. When they finally tired of your management style, they resigned. When the press questioned them as to why they were leaving, most cited “philosophical differences.” Had you been able to keep yourself from lying about them, in all probability, they never would have turned against you. You just could not acknowledge that you are a poor manager and couldn’t hold them. It was not about politics. Each of them is a Republican, just as you are.You will recall that things turned really ugly when your own hires, Tony Hershey and Katie Steers, left. Tony, whom I met on Jan. 10 when I turned the office over to you, compared you to a Russian empress and blasted your hostile work environment and paranoia. Katie, whom I have never met or spoken with, cited a hostile work environment and blasted your management style and your ethics. I do not criticize your hires for publicly criticizing you. Indeed, I respect and admire them both. It took great courage for young lawyers like Tony and Katie to step up and speak the truth about you given the power and prestige of your office. I suppose you imagine I had some influence over them as well. Again, I should be flattered that you believe I have such control over people I don’t even know.Colleen, I want you and the public to know that I have no personal axe to grind with you. DAs have different philosophies. I ran my office my way, and you run yours your way. I am proud of the accomplishments of the lawyers and staff who served with me, and I am content to sit on my eight-year record. Rather than comparing yourself to me, I suggest you accept responsibility for your own record. In my view, though your office has had some success, your personal failures and shortcomings make you unworthy of an office that demands honesty, integrity, and competence. Because you have demonstrated repeatedly that you lack those qualities, I support your recall. Should you continue to blame me or any of my former employees for your failures, you can count on a public response from me.Mac Myers currently resides in Cortez where he is working as a deputy district attorney. He served as cistrict attorney in the 9th Judicial District from 1997 through 2005.