District Attorney George Gascón Announces Office-Wide Restructuring

February 23, 2011

Erica Terry Derryck, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Seth Steward, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1014

Reorganization to Improve Effectiveness, Maximize Resources and Increase Public Safety

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced today a streamlining of operations in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office with an office-wide restructuring. The effort includes a reduction in the Office’s executive staff and realignment of key prosecution teams.

“In a time of diminished resources and on-going budget challenges, where everyone is being forced to do more with less, this restructuring is the most effective way for the District Attorney’s Office to meet its mandate of fighting crime,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “I am grateful to have a team of dedicated and experienced prosecutors and staff to help usher in these changes that will improve the quality of life and shore up public safety in our City.”

District Attorney Gascón has combined several prosecutorial teams to build capacity and ensure greater effectiveness. Those teams are General Litigation and Narcotics, which will now be under the umbrella of General Felonies. The District Attorney’s Office will now also have an Economic Crimes Unit which will encompass Welfare, Insurance and Real Estate Fraud, as well as Financial Elder Abuse and High-Tech Crimes.

Additionally, District Attorney Gascón has restructured the District Attorney’s Office to eliminate three top management positions: Chief Assistant District Attorney, Chief of Administration and Chief of Policy. Under the new structure the main leadership of the Office is now shared by two Chief Assistants and one Chief, who as part of the executive report directly to the District Attorney. These individuals will be responsible for the following departments: Special Operations, Operations, and Support Services. David Pfeifer, Sharon Woo and Eugene Clendinen, long-time members of the District Attorney’s Office, will fill these roles respectively. Collectively, these three Divisions encompass the main prosecutorial and support staff functions of the District Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Woo who was previously Chief of the Criminal Division will now be Chief Assistant of Operations. She will oversee her replacement Braden Woods, who leaves his post as head of homicide to become Chief of the Criminal Division. Within the Criminal Division, Narcotics and General Litigation will be combined into a new General Felonies Unit and all rebookings for both misdemeanor and general felony and narcotics cases will be reviewed by a newly formed Intake Unit. Charging decisions for vertically prosecuted cases in the Homicide, Sexual Assault, Child Assault, Gangs, Juvenile and Domestic Violence will continue to be handled by the individual unit heads. The Domestic Violence Unit will be expanded to include physical elder abuse cases.

Also under Ms. Woo’s direction will be the Victim Services Division headed by Chief of Victim Services Maria Bee and the newly formed Collaborative Courts Division which will be led by Chief of Collaborative Courts Lenore Anderson. Ms. Anderson was previously Chief of Policy, a position which has been eliminated in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office reorganization. The Collaborative Courts Division will include all existing alternative courts and the expanded Community Court program District Attorney Gascón will be rolling out initially as part of a pilot program, with the eventual goal of implementing the program City-wide.

Mr. Pfeifer, who previously held the position of Chief Assistant District Attorney, a title which has been eliminated in the new structure, will now served as Chief Assistant of Special Operations. Mr. Pfeifer’s new duties will include responsibility for the Investigations Division, White Collar Division, and reconstituted Brady, Appellate and Training Division. These re-shaped divisions will be headed by Chief of Investigations Jim Crisolo, Chief of the White Collar Division June Cravett and Chief of the combined Brady, Appellate and Training Division Jerry Coleman. Mr. Coleman’s newly formed division will focus on the improving training for new attorneys, as well as on-going professional development and certifications.

Former Chief Financial Officer Eugene Clendinen will head up the Support Services Department as Chief of Administrative and Fiscal Operations. He will direct the Integrated Police Prosecution (IPP), Information Technology, Finance, Legal Support and Human Services Divisions.

District Attorney Gascón also announced that Cristine Soto DeBerry, will be leaving her post as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Ed Lee to join the District Attorney’s Office as Chief of Staff. Answering directly to the District Attorney, she will be responsible for a broad scope of duties including executive coordination, policy and legislative development, government relations, communications, public affairs and special projects.

In addition to announcing staffing and structural changes, District Attorney Gascón laid out a plan for the formation of working groups to examine a number of internal and external issues and topics that include: workload analysis and backlog reduction, family violence (DV, Elder Abuse, Child Abuse), communications, including information dissemination and public records, and technology. The intent of the working groups is to identify and highlight areas of focus to be examined in the coming year.

District Attorney’ Gascón’s implementation of the new operations structure and formation of the working groups was informed by discussions with key members of San Francisco’s criminal justice community, as well as other city and state actors and District Attorney’s Office staff at all levels. These announcements come less than two months into District Attorney Gascón’s tenure.

“This is the first step in a process that is about making the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office the best prosecutor’s office it can be,” said District Attorney Gascón. “I am committed to continuing the work we’ve started today by continuing to engage in an open dialog with my staff, members of the City family, community stakeholders, the press and the everyday citizens to ensure that San Francisco is the safest City it can be.”