Nickles overhauling DC attorney general's office

Chris Rizo May 23, 2008, 1:45pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The District of Columbia's attorney general's office is firing ten of its lawyers and managers to help plug the office's $3 million deficit in its fiscal 2009 budget, officials said.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the personnel cuts are also being made because of the workers' poor performance.

Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles, who took office in December, is aiming to transform the attorney general's office into a "first-rate law firm" with "strong, young, able stars," the newspaper reported.

The ten firings is only the beginning in the transformation of the AG's $101 million operation that handles such things as the negotiation of real estate agreements, the prosecution of juvenile criminal cases and the enforcement of child-support laws.

"There's been no dress code," Nickles said. "We've had a lot of bluejeans being worn, and that's not appropriate for a professional office."

Additionally, timecards and weekly reports will allow management of the office to"get a sense of what people are doing."

Steven Anderson, president of the union that represents nine of the state lawyers who were fired, said the union plans to challenge the terminations.

"It may be the way things are done at big law firms," Anderson was quoted as saying. "I don't think it's a good way to run civil service."

Nickles said he thinks morale is up in part because of the changes he has implemented.

"If people think I'm moving too fast, too vigorously or in the wrong direction, I hope they can persuade me, because I'm willing to listen," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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