With still eight months before the 2018 election for Stanislaus County District Attorney, Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne announced he has received an endorsement from the labor union representing the sheriff’s jail guards and court bailiffs.
The prosecutor in late August launched a campaign to replace his boss, District Attorney Birgit Fladager, who is seeking her fourth term.
Mayne says management at the DA’s Office needs to change, describing a high number of attorneys leaving for other jobs. He said last week the Stanislaus County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which represents jailers and bailiffs, knows well what is going in DA’s Office and the quality of his work.
“They saw that it was time for a change, saw the right person to make that change and were ready to support it in word and in deed,” Mayne said on his campaign’s Facebook page. “That takes attentiveness, interest and courage.”
Fladager has beaten two other challengers before; she ran unopposed in her second election. But this is the first time she has faced a challenger who works for her.
“I appreciate the incredible job the correctional staff does in their duties at the Stanislaus County jail,” Fladager said in an e-mail.. “While they have chosen to go a different direction for an election months away, I am proud to have the support of the county’s top law enforcement officer, Sheriff Adam Christianson.”
The sheriff, who has worked for the department since 1996 and held office since 2006, has announced his retirement and does not intend to seek re-election when his term ends in June.
Mayne said the deputies’ union is the first law enforcement group in the county to formally endorse a candidate in next year’s election for District Attorney.
“Mr. Mayne made a commitment to the prosecution of drug and assault offenses taking place in the jail facilities,” said union president Pedro Beltran in a written statement. “The DSA’s observation is that these type of crimes lack prosecution in comparison to the same crimes that happen outside of the jails.”
Beltran said the union’s nine-member board voted unanimously to endorse Mayne. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association represents 265 deputies working in the county’s jail and court facilities.
The patrol deputies who work for the same Sheriff’s Department are represented by a separate labor union, the Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association.
“The DSA includes the bailiffs, who see me in court virtually every day and have first-hand knowledge of what’s going on both with me and with the office, generally,” Mayne said in his announcement. “It also includes the jail deputies, who are a vital part of keeping order.”
It’s a three-candidate race with Modesto attorney Patrick Kolasinski in late March launching his campaign to become the county’s top prosecutor. He said Thursday that the deputies’ endorsement speaks volumes about the dissatisfaction of law enforcement groups with Fladager’s administration.
“It’s a clear sign that there’s a problem in that office,” Kolasinski said. “It’s not surprising but noteworthy about how the deputies feel.”
Kolasinski’s primary practice is immigration law and criminal defense, and he has no prosecutorial experience. But he believes he has the management skills needed to run the office the other two candidates lack.
Fladager says the DA’s office has employees who start their careers there and find more attractive pay, benefits or location with other jobs. She has said her administration team has been working with the attorneys’ union and the county to focus attention on pay comparisons statewide to address the turnover issue.
“There will be plenty of time for campaign rhetoric next year, but this week I am focused on the justice we worked so hard to obtain for 14-year-old Alycia Mesiti, a young girl taken so early in life at the hands of her father,” said Fladager, referring to the recent murder conviction of Mark Edward Mesiti.