There's no arguing that prosecutors in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office work hard to protect the public through justice, but when the county makes budget cuts, they have to make sacrifices like all other departments.
NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit has uncovered DA Jeff Rosen found a way to get around cuts affecting some of his office's highest paid employees in the form of free time off. Our investigation has already sparked the County to begin an internal investigation into the DA’s office.
Lead attorneys, who are attorneys who hold leadership roles in the DA's office, the office of the Public Defender, and the Child Support Services office, all had their normal 5-percent bonus cut in September 2011.
The Investigative Unit reviewed those lead attorneys' time sheets from 2011-2012 and found thousands of hours of requested vacation within the District Attorney’s Office were crossed off and changed to administrative leave; thus giving attorneys paid time off without using their vacation and allowing them to bank vacation time.
Attorneys in the Office of the Public Defender and Child Support Services received no administrative leave during that same time period.
According to county policy, administrative leave is to be given at the department head's discretion to employees who have worked “an extraordinary number of hours.”
District Attorney Jeff Rosen told NBC Bay Area he gave out the extra time to make up for the 5-percent cut.
"It was unfair and unprecedented that their 5-percent was taken away," Rosen said.
When asked if it was fair to other departments who made cuts, he responded, "I'm the elected DA so I am entrusted with the public with running the DA’s office and with protecting the public,” Rosen said.
"I'm not here to speak about how other departments in the county run their affairs."
County Executive Jeff Smith, who oversees union contracts and ensures departments properly follow county policies, told NBC Bay Area this use of administrative leave in place of vacation, does not seem proper.
"If everybody in the county did that, our budget would be totally out of control," Smith said.
NBC Bay Area has obtained the altered documents, and will reveal more of the interview with District Attorney Jeff Rosen, as we continue working on this story.