February 9, 2010 in City

Now you don’t see the prosecutor, now you do

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Although I’ve never met the man (that I can recall), I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Dave Stevens.

Stevens provided an invaluable service the other day by jogging my memory banks.

It happened when he announced his intent to run against his boss, Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker, in the August primary.

“Oh, that’s right,” I said to myself after digesting the news.

“We DO have a county prosecutor named Steve Tucker.”

Hey, I’m probably not the only one in the community to suffer a Steve Tucker brain lapse.

I dare you. Name a public official around here who keeps a lower profile.

Tucker makes the stealth bomber look like a parade of raucous, celebratory New Orleans Saints fans.

Elvis has been seen more in the last 10 years than Steve Tucker.

If Tucker were a groundhog we’d never know if we were in for six more weeks of winter.

There’d be no coaxing Punxsutawney Steve out of his hole so he could see his shadow.

I’m not saying Tucker is the Invisible Man. A team of courthouse ghost hunters once claimed to sense his mustachioed eerie presence.

In declaring his candidacy, Stevens said of Tucker: “Until I came here, I’d never seen a total lack of leadership.”

Stevens went on to add that, “There needs to be a determined leader, not an absent administrator.”

That’s where Stevens is dead wrong.

Tucker is plenty determined to use the hibernating bear as his office management role model.

Just a day after Stevens launched his attack, however, Tucker placed the deputy prosecutor on paid leave with possible disciplinary consequences.

The move was extraordinary since decisiveness is not one of the prosecutor’s strong suits.

Tucker’s the kind of guy who would take three hours to order lunch off the McDonald’s dollar menu.

But this wasn’t the first time Tucker has dealt swiftly with political enemies.

After his first election win in 1998, Tucker immediately fired five workers in the prosecutor’s office.

Included among the fallen was a supervisor who had suspended Tucker when he was a deputy prosecutor for performance issues like regularly not showing up for meetings.

But in Tucker’s defense, you can’t lower your handicap by wasting time at meetings.

I know. Over the years there have been a lot of rumors and jokes about how much time the prosecutor spends on golf.

But is Tucker really that wild about golf?

You be the judge:

Stevens, a Republican, has been endorsed by the GOP.

Tucker, also a Republican, hopes to be endorsed by the PGA.

The big question is whether Tucker will fire Stevens.

The prosecutor is on record saying, “I don’t think the public should be paying somebody to run against his boss.”

Far be it from me to give political advice.

But I think it’s in Tucker’s best interest to keep Stevens on the payroll.

What with all the nice weather we’re having, the prosecutor’s going to need a caddy.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.

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