San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris laid off at least five staffers and two attorneys today, citing the national economic crisis and the city’s more-than $500 million budget deficit.
“The layoffs we are being forced to make are strictly budgetary,” Harris said in a statement released by office spokeswoman Erica Derryck. “This is an extremely difficult and painful process for our entire office. We will continue to pursue justice and public safety with the work we do every day.”
Erika Yuen, an attorney in the DA’s misdemeanor unit, was one of those laid off, said Elliot Beckelman, an assistant DA and vice president in the union that represents lawyers in the district attorney, city attorney and public defender’s offices. Beckelman said Yuen was a talented and well-liked attorney. Beckelman said he couldn’t confirm other layoffs but said he had heard that two or three paralegals lost their jobs.
But according to multiple sources in the DA’s office, Harris also laid off Monique Camperi, another misdemeanor attorney. Office sources said there were at least five other layoffs, too: three paralegals and two investigators.
Derryck declined to discuss specifics, including whether the office thought today’s layoffs will prevent future staff reductions. She said the office had 253 total employees, including 123 lawyers, before the layoffs. She would not say how many staffers or lawyers the office has now.
In recent months of budget negotiations, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s offices have said that they have not had to lay anyone off for budget reasons, but they, like Harris’ office, have cut vacant positions.
— Evan Hill