Politics & Government

Thurston County commissioners oust director of public defense

Daryl Rodrigues answers questions at a Dec. 7, 2015, budget meeting. Thurston County’s Board of Commissioners has asked for his resignation as Thurston County Public Defense director.
Daryl Rodrigues answers questions at a Dec. 7, 2015, budget meeting. Thurston County’s Board of Commissioners has asked for his resignation as Thurston County Public Defense director. sbloom@theolympian.com

Thurston County’s Board of Commissioners has asked for the resignation of Public Defense Director Daryl Rodrigues.

The commissioners “lost confidence in Mr. Rodrigues’ ability to lead the department of Public Defense, both financially and through personnel actions,” according to a press release late Tuesday.

County spokeswoman Meghan Porter said she could not elaborate on what prompted the decision.

Public Defender Patrick O’Connor, who leads the office’s Superior Court team, will act as interim director of the office until the commissioners find Rodrigues’ replacement.

Rodrigues was hired as public defense director in March 2013. He previously worked as a public defender for the Colville Confederated Tribes, and worked as a mental health professional before attending law school, according to his biography on the Thurston County Public Defense website.

Rodrigues also is president of the Washington Defender Association, according to the agency’s website.

Rodrigues is the second department head this year whom the commissioners have asked to step down.

In early January, they asked Tom Stuebner, former Public Health and Social Services director, to resign.

Commissioner Bud Blake told The Olympian that they were taking the department in a new direction.

They have since hired Schelli Slaughter, who has been leading the Family Support Center of South Sound, for that post.

Commissioners Gary Edwards and John Hutchings are new to the three-person commission this year, and promised during their campaigns to shake up county government.

Amelia Dickson:

360-754-5445,

@Amelia_Oly

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