The Fairfax County deputy county attorney who faced being fired over how she handled a case involving the police shooting of an unarmed man will keep her job after all, officials said Monday.
Cynthia L. Tianti had been placed on administrative leave in March in the wake of a public outcry over several aspects of the investigation into the 2013 shooting of John Geer.
On Monday, a lawyer representing County Attorney David P. Bobzien in the termination proceedings said Tianti will keep her job, but will focus only on matters related to the county Community Services Board, which provides services for people with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems.
“She is assigned to handle Community Service Board matters exclusively,” Sharon Pandak said.
Bobzien declined to comment. Tianti did not respond to an interview request.
Sharon Bulova (D), chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, said the county decided not to fire Tianti to “avoid litigation and a challenge to termination . . . She will not be working in the area that involves police issues.”
E-mails obtained by The Washington Post show that Tianti counseled Fairfax police to withhold internal affairs files from the county prosecutor investigating the shooting, which occurred during a response to a domestic dispute at Geer’s Springfield townhouse.
The county attorney’s office also did not tell supervisors that prosecutor Raymond F. Morrogh had requested a meeting with Bulova and the rest of the board to discuss the case. Several board members pushed for Bobzien and Tianti to be fired after learning they had been kept out of the loop.
Bobzien agreed to retire in June 2016 — nine months earlier than he had planned — and initiated a reorganization of his staff that included eliminating Tianti’s position. On Monday, Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) expressed frustration that Tianti would remain on the county payroll — and said supervisors had not been informed about the decision.
“This is probably another case where I question the judgment of the county attorney,” Herrity said.
Bulova, who created an ad-hoc police commission to deal with some of the questions raised by the Geer investigation, said she hopes to move past the controversy sparked by the case.
“While this situation has been disappointing and frustrating, I think we’re going to see some positive changes result from it,” she said.
Staff writer Tom Jackman contributed to this report.