Opinion

Stocker made the right choice

When former Assistant City Attorney Simon Stocker resigned from his post on Friday, Jan. 30, he did the right thing.

Stocker, who has been charged in King County with felony assault for a Jan. 24 incident outside a nightclub in Seattle, was more than a man behaving badly: he was a city official behaving badly. And city officials should not behave that way, under any circumstance. By offering his resignation, he is acknowledging that even if he isn’t guilty of assault, the charges reflect badly on the city.

Kudos.

Stocker e-mailed his resignation letter to his boss, City Attorney Roger Lubovich, as Stocker was on paid administrative leave while Lubovich investigated the situation. Lubovich was trying to decide whether Stocker should lose his job or if other disciplinary action was in order.

In his resignation letter, Stocker wrote: “I would have liked to have continued my work for the city. But as you know the recent allegations against me, coupled with the intense media coverage surrounding the issue, have created an environment that would be detrimental to the productivity of the City Attorney’s Office.”

Yes, it would have. It is difficult to make progress in a city when one of its own city officials is grabbing headlines by being charged with felony assault.

By resigning, Stocker also saved Lubovich from having to make a difficult decision. The two have been working side-by-side for a number of years and no doubt had a strong sense of camaraderie.

It would have been difficult for Lubovich to fire Stocker if he did, in fact, decide Stocker should be fired.

It is unfortunate that one incident of bad judgement could potentially end what seemed like a bright career. To be an assistant city attorney at the tender age of 32 is quite an accomplishment. There is no telling what could have been in store for Stocker had this incident not occurred.

It also is unfortunate that whether Stocker is found guilty of the charges or if they are dropped, his name is still tainted. It’s not right, it’s just the way things are — once someone is associated with a bad incident, it’s impossible for Joe Public to think of them otherwise.

I guess the only positive thing that could come out of this incident is that, hopefully, if other public officials will take this as a warning that one bad decision can affect their careers.

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