DA puts Schlueter on paid leave | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DA puts Schlueter on paid leave

Two weeks after losing the Nov. 5 El Dorado County district attorney election to his boss Erik Schlueter was notified he would be placed on paid leave.

Schlueter, a 15-year deputy district attorney for the county, said he expected such a move after Gary Lacy received 54 percent of 48,374 votes to Schlueter’s 46 percent.

In March’s primary, Schlueter edged Lacy and soundly defeated private practice attorney Dale Schafer.

“I knew he would retaliate for me running,” Schlueter said. “That’s all this is, a political retaliation. Take a look at the timing.”

Paul Goyette, an attorney at Gold River, was retained by Schlueter prior to Assistant District Attorney Sean O’Brien’s telling him on Nov. 19 that he was being put on paid administrative leave.

“I think the district attorney thinks ‘Schlueter has the audacity to run for this office and I’m going to show him who’s boss’,” Goyette said.

Schlueter received the notification on his second day back from a post-election weeklong trip to England with his wife, Carole.

“The district attorney has proposed Erik’s termination and I fully expect that’s what the district attorney will do,” Goyette said. “We have a process we will be going through between now and Dec. 5.”

The process involves a meeting with Lacy or submitting a written response regarding Schlueter’s position. If there is no resolution and Schlueter is released from his duties, there will be an appeal hearing before the El Dorado County Civil Service Commission, Goyette said.

Lacy and O’Brien could not be reached for comment.

Schlueter declined to share the reason why he was placed on leave, citing it as a “personnel matter pending.”

Goyette shed more light on the issue. “The district attorney alleges Mr. Schlueter committed various forms of misconduct while Schlueter was out campaigning.”

Two months before the election, concerns were raised regarding comments Schlueter made to a group of roughly 10 Cameron Park women involved in an alleged pyramid scheme. Schlueter, who was campaigning at the time in January, told the women their actions were legal based on the information they gave him.

Schlueter accused Lacy of releasing the information during a crucial campaigning period. In turn, based on electronic correspondence Schlueter alleged Lacy’s girlfriend and wives of deputies in the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department were members of “Women Helping Women.”

Sheriff’s deputies in Sacramento County have made numerous arrests of women involved in the scheme and the pyramid story has appeared nationwide in wire and magazine stories.

Schlueter expects a decision on the review of his job by Dec. 5. Armed with tenacity and an attorney, Schlueter seems ready for the long haul.

“Right now I’m going to fight to keep the job,” Schlueter said from his home. “Obviously that’s what I do and what I do best.” He later added: “Obviously I don’t run scared.”

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com

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