By Sharon Sweet

Can we even afford another four years with Patrick Flaherty as district attorney?

He has made the statement several times that the lawsuits against him haven’t been his fault. Really!

Ask yourself what kind of administrator ignores all credible advice from everyone, tells one after another that since he is an elected official, no one can tell him what to do and completely disregards all laws and administrative rules in favor of what he wants.

Consider that every employee who filed suit against Flaherty prevailed against him. And then consider how badly you have to screw up for the state and county to want to make cash settlements instead of taking the case to trial. I say again: These lawsuits all happened solely because Flaherty clearly has significantly flawed judgment. Does anyone really think the lawsuits are over if Flaherty has another four years in office?

Patrick is very good at making damaging accusations about anyone who doesn’t fall into line behind him, but he has yet to provide any information to anyone to support those accusations. He is doing the same thing to his opponent, John Hummel. Sure makes you wonder. Is that all you have, Patrick?

Has anyone ever heard Patrick Flaherty take responsibility for anything he’s done wrong? And he’s done plenty wrong. In fact, it has been one expensive lesson after another that he doesn’t seem to learn from. With him it’s always someone else’s fault; someone else’s shortfall. I’ve heard Hummel acknowledges his mistakes publicly, but not Patrick.

Patrick is quick to state that he is not a politician, but rather a prosecutor. If Flaherty’s claim to fame is that he prosecutes cases, he is a seriously overpaid prosecutor. We need someone in that office who has the experience and the wherewithal to deal effectively with all the business relating to the DA’s office, not just prosecuting cases.

We need someone who can network appropriately from Central Oregon all the way to Salem. We don’t have that now, but we do need it. Also, just because the district attorney is an elected official doesn’t mean that person is above the laws we are all held to. For Flaherty, it’s do as I say, not as I do.

Flaherty is quick to tout his high closure rate for cases in his office, but I would suggest to you that those figures may well be skewed. Consider what his closure rate would look like if many of the cases coming into that office were either dropped or pleaded down for a quick closure. Then ask yourself: Is Flaherty really keeping this community safe?

Don’t just vote your party in this election; evaluate Flaherty with a critical eye. Don’t listen to the hostile bluster when Patrick speaks; listen to what he says and what he isn’t saying. Look past his mudslinging; look past the character assassinations Patrick is so fond of using; question everything he says; and then go a step further and look for any verification you can find to substantiate his claims.

So much damage has been done in only a little over three years and it’s time to put someone in that office with the qualifications to run it and the ability to learn from his mistakes. Let’s fix this.

— Sharon Sweet is a former investigator in the DA’s office and lives in Redmond.