Covello quitting the DA’s office
July 10, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN and KAREN VELIE
A little more than a month after losing his bid to become San Luis Obispo County’s top prosecutor, Tim Covello is stepping down from his position with the district attorney’s office.
Covello, who is currently assistant district attorney, or second in command, submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday, sources close to the district attorney’s office said. Covello has accepted a job in the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, and his last day of work in San Luis Obispo will be Friday.
On June 5, a contentious campaign for the district attorney’s seat concluded with Covello losing to Dan Dow, a lower ranking prosecutor. Dow won with a 10 percent margin.
Before several internal issues came to light last year, District Attorney Gerry Shea planned to step down prior to the end of his term and ask the SLO County Board of Supervisors to appoint Covello. The previous two district attorneys both retired about six months before the end of their terms and requested the appointment of their successors, who then ran successfully as incumbents.
However, after a rift about an upper level management change, Shea elected to serve out his term, inside sources said. A group of deputy district attorneys then selected Dow as the best candidate to run against Covello.
During the campaign, all of the county’s deputy district attorneys who chose to endorse a candidate threw their support behind Dow while Shea backed Covello.
Past and present members of the district attorney’s office said publicly that a rift exists between management and subordinates. Dow said during a debate that Covello is unapproachable and has a top-down management style that hurts morale.
Covello argued that morale problems stemmed from work related issues, such as deputies not working full days.
As a prosecutor, Covello prosecuted Rex Krebs, who in 2001, received a death sentence for abducting and killing two college students. He also prosecuted two men and a woman, who received murder convictions in 2003 for the killing of a national guardsman in Paso Robles.
Most recently, Covello prosecuted the Dystiny Myers case, which ended in Feb. 2013 with murder convictions of all five defendants.
Covello has worked for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office since 1993. He has served as second in command at the office since 2012.