Upheaval at new DA’s office

New Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson wasn’t kidding when she promised dramatic changes.

Reporting by the Star-Telegram’s Mitch Mitchell showed that 42 full- and part-time employees in the DA’s office resigned or were let go between Oct. 24 and Feb. 23. That includes 26 full-time prosecutors, 17 percent of the DA’s staff attorneys.

Some departures were voluntary, motivated by policy changes such as mandatory weekday office hours from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. — without exception. Other employees had no choice about their exit.

Wilson says the restructuring is intended to “achieve a more efficient use of the office’s resources while reducing overall operating costs to the taxpayers.”

Among other things, she is reducing management staff to make more line attorneys available to prosecute cases.

Change is never a universally bad thing, particularly if the result is a more effective office. But high turnover and dramatic adjustments can also cause problems, like cases falling through the cracks.

Will Wilson’s changes bring efficiency or chaos? It begs watching.