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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 05/22/2008

How Many Lawyers Does It Take...

To get fired--in the interest of a balanced budget and "first-rate" staff.

The Office of the Attorney General began informing assistant attorneys yesterday that they will be terminated for poor performance as the agency seeks to become "first-rate" and save $3 million in the fiscal 2009 budget, said interim Attorney General Peter J. Nickles.

So far, 10 assistant attorneys and one staff member are on the list, he said. "It's not a layoff. It's not a buyout. Folks are being let go," Nickles said.

In December, Nickles, Fenty's general counsel, replaced Linda Singer, who insiders say quit out of frustration that Nickles interfered in decision-making.

Nickles, known for his take-no-prisoners style, said he began a performance review of the office. "Deputies and frontline supervisers" looked at "who the stars are and who is not up to that star capacity," Nickles said.

Nickles said he had not planned to begin clearing the office of underperforming employees for another three months but the recent budget crunch sped up the process. There are about 300 lawyers in the office, Nickles said.

The employees have the right to challenge the supervisors' recommendations that they be fired with Nickles, who said he would decide whether they should ultimately be terminated.

But Nickles said he is prepared to fire people and there will be more. "The more would not be to come within the restraints of the budget," he said.

It will be because they don't shine bright.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  07:00 AM ET, 05/22/2008

Categories:  City Life

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