March 9, 2009 in City

Homeland Security official withdraws appeal

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The region’s fired Homeland Security coordinator, who was scheduled to fight his termination today before the Spokane County Civil Service Commission, has withdrawn that appeal, officials say.

David L. Byrnes notified Nancy Paladino, chief examiner for the commission, and various other county officials of his decision Sunday, less than 24 hours before his scheduled appeal hearing.

Paladino declined to say what reasons, if any, Byrnes gave for withdrawing his appeal. By withdrawing the appeal, his termination has now been finalized.

He was fired Oct. 30 by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich for three charges of misconduct – being arrested for drunk driving, violating the sheriff’s office alcohol policy and failure to report for duty.

Byrnes was arrested Oct. 6 near Loon Lake by a Stevens County sheriff’s deputy. The deputy contacted Byrnes, public records show, after he drove his personal vehicle into a ditch and was stopped walking down a highway carrying an unopened bottle of Cutty Sark scotch. The 64-year-old Homeland Security official was off-duty at the time.

It was the second time in a 20-month period that Byrnes has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

His first arrest led to a plea bargain and a reduced charge. The latest arrests resulted in a deferred prosecution by Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.

As Homeland Security coordinator for 10 Eastern Washington counties, Byrnes oversaw the distribution of more than $16 million in federal grants to local government agencies and coordinated emergency services training.


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