Candidates target leadership in district attorney race debate
April 24, 2014
During the second debate between San Luis Obispo County district attorney candidates Dan Dow and Tim Covello, the candidates focused on leadership ability and experience.
During the debate at the San Luis Obispo Library, Covello, who has been with the district attorney’s office for 21 years, said Dow does not have the experience as a prosecutor to lead the office. In addition, other prosecutors in the county office have more experience than Dow, which would hamper his ability to lead, Covello said.
Dow countered by listing his past leadership experience in the Army and California Army National Guard. He also noted the support he has received from the majority of district attorneys in the office.
Both candidates are seeking to replace Gerry Shea, who announced he would serve out the remainder of his term late last year. Prior to that announcement, Shea had been slated to step down six months before the end of his term and recommend Covello as a replacement.
The past two district attorneys before Shea, stepped down amid their last term and recommended that the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors appoint their choice for district attorney who then ran as the incumbent and won the seat.
Inside sources said after several prosecutors complained about Covello’s selections for management positions, Shea announced he would serve out his last term. Shortly afterwards, a group of prosecutors met to discuss the best person to run as a candidate for office, and Dow was selected, sources said.
The majority of prosecutors in the office, 23 district attorneys, are supporting Dow’s election bid. Dow said during the debate that Covello is unapproachable and has a top-down management style that hurts morale.
Covello argued that some of the deputies have created the morale problems because of work related issues such as not working a full day.
The primary election is on June 3.