Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kansas: Phill Kline, a possible office bugging & accusations of mistreatment of women

By Diane Silver

The saga of ousted Kansas Attorney General/new Johnson County District Attorney Phil Kline continues. The latest chapter: A veteran DA says she was fired Tuesday after complaining about the Kline-era treatment of women in the prosecutor's office.

It gets better...

Jacqie Spradling says its possible that her office was bugged after she sent a memo to Kline with her complaints. And even better...

Spradling isn't an off-the-wall nutcake. She has worked for the Johnson County's DA office for 15 years and been in charge of the domestic violence unit for the last eight years. The Kansas City Star reports that Spradling is so well respected that she wasn't without help when she moved out of her office.

In a show of solidarity, about a dozen police officers helped Spradling pack up her belongings from the district attorney’s office this morning and carry boxes to her truck.

Honestly, it seems like war has broken out between the various Johnson County law enforcement agencies since Kline took over.

Kline and his people deny everything, of course.

Meanwhile, Spradling says she is fighting to get her job back.

“I am deeply saddened and I am worried for the victims of domestic violence and all crime victims in Johnson County,” Spradling said in the statement. “The DA’s office has lost 17 attorneys since Kline’s appointment and we should all be concerned about the systematic destruction of that office since Kline’s arrival.”

One of the most interesting parts of Spradling's statement is her contention that "Phill Kline has other priorities" than providing the best protection and best prosecutors for county crime victims. Other priorities? Doesn't that sound familiar.


Anonymous said...

how many people were sacked from the attorney general's office by morrison?

funny how you don't include the fact that she was replaced by a woman as well.

Diane Silver said...

A couple of points...

Whatever Morrison has done in the AG's office doesn't have one thing to do what Kline's actions.

What I find much more telling than the fact that this prosecutor was replaced by a woman is the fact that a dozen police officers helped her pack up her office. They apparently did that to show their support. That is enormously telling.

Since the fired prosecutor is going to be battling Kline, I suspect we'll go more detail as time goes by. I look forward to seeing the legal filings.

Anonymous said...

When will Johnson County citizens recognize that behind all the smoke coming from the DA's office, there is a fire? The fire started when the Jo Co Republican Caucus went against the voters of the county and appointed Kline as the interim district attorney. Ms. Spradling and many other senior attorneys were the very best at what they did for the residents and victims of Johnson County. Any additions to the DA's staff by Kline should have complimented those attorneys , not replaced them.

Retired law enforcement officer.

Anonymous said...

it does matter though.

ask: how many prosecutors and employees for the AG's office were fired by Morrison?

sure, that's great and all that cops carried out her, makes me weep.

kline's actions are probably wrong - so are morrison's. they are equally bad administrators and managers.

Anonymous said...

I have worked in the DA's office under both Kline and Morrison. There are certainly things that I didn't like about the Morrison administration. Compared to the one that I am now under, however, working under Morrison was perfect.

In the past few months I have seen prosecutors who have passion for their jobs begin to look defeated. The intelligent, hard-working prosecutors that weren't fired on January 8 are now over-worked and under-appreciated. The amount of work piled on these individuals is insurmountable and the scrutiny placed upon their ability to complete it is great... meanwhile, new prosecutors (with no experience) have waltzed it with big paychecks. They are rude, they do not work hard, and they don't care about their cases. Cases are getting dismissed and criminals are going free.

Ms. Spradling is not crazy in her allegations of eavesdropping. Most employees from the Morrison administration have concerns about the constant watchful eyes/ears in the office. Unfortunately, the new administration seems far more concerned with loyalty to the boss than loyalty to the job.

As for discrimination against women, that is seen on a daily basis within the office - from generally ignoring the females, to belittling them with snide comments, to praising the men and paying them more than a female working twice as hard...

One may think that this is just a bitter rant from a disgruntled employee. Please note, however, all of the women leaving that office. 14 of the 31 attorneys in that office were females back in December. Only 4 from that group remain. Kline has hired 2 more. That's a total of 6. But it's not just the female attorneys quitting - maybe someone should investigate the fact that 3 female assistants to Kline's right-hand men (Maxwell and Rucker) have resigned after working with them.

Morrison was no prince and maybe he did not handle the changing of the guard at the AG's office as he should have. But should that really excuse what Kline is doing to Johnson County? As a true employee of a prosecutor's office, one phrase comes to mind - two wrongs don't make a right.

Diane Silver said...

Thanks so much for posting your insider's view of Kline's office. It's not a pretty picture.

dana said...

What I find most frightening is Kline’s apparently inability to gain the respect and loyalty of his employees. Instead he is terminating employees, alienating female staff members and (possibly) “bugging” office of people he should be trying to work with - not against. If this was happening because he was focusing on victims rights, criminal cases and/or ensuring Johnson County is a safer place to live instead of his employees than many citizens would support him. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

I would like us (as a community) to focus more on Kline’s performance of the job and less on comparing him to Morrison. Morrison is no longer here and while I wish he were, I believe more will be gained if Kline’s actions are reviewed without comparison. In his short time in the service of Johnson County he has already done much to destroy a vital political office in the most populated county in Kansas.

Only we as voters can make the necessary changes. This can be done by writing letters in the paper, contacting political parties, blogging, etc.

So…keep talking - don’t be silent