News

Prosecutor fires chief deputy

BY BRIAN KELLY AND GAYLE SARAN

South Whidbey Record

Island County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Banks fired Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Steve Selby Monday morning.

The dismissal came on the heels of Selby's Friday announcement that he would run against Banks for county prosecutor in the fall election.

"Regrettably, I have had to terminate my chief criminal deputy's employment with this office," Banks said in a statement released to the media Monday morning.

"The partnership between an elected prosecutor and his chief deputy must be built on trust and loyalty. Without that foundation they cannot work together effectively," Banks said.

Selby, a Republican, announced his candidacy for the prosecutor's job on April 14.

Banks, a Democrat, said last week he would seek another term.

Selby, 54, has been the county’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor since 1998.

Last week, he harshly criticized Banks as a "micro-manager," and also blamed Banks for high employee turnover in the prosecutor's office and for soured relations with local law enforcement officials and with the attorneys and staff in the prosecutor's office.

Selby's dismissal was not completely unexpected. There was talk Monday around the county campus in Coupeville among county employees that he may be fired.

Selby himself raised the possibility when announcing his candidacy last week.

"I realize I could be fired for taking this step, but it's time to bring about change," Selby said on Friday.

Banks said Selby had 14 pending cases. Those cases will now be assigned to Banks and other deputies in the prosecutor's office.

"Mr. Selby's abrupt actions have disrupted the office," Banks said. "In an office this size, we can only succeed in our mission if all oars are pulling in the same direction. It is necessary now to heal any rifts he created and restore the public's confidence. Fortunately, I know I have a dedicated staff that can do so, regardless of whom they support in the election."

Selby is a career prosecutor with over 25 years of experience.

From 1981 to 1985, he served as a lieutenant in the Navy's Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His last duty station was Naval Air Station Whidbey Island as a prosecutor with the Naval Legal Service Office.

After he completed his military service, Selby first served as assistant city attorney in Longview, Wash., then moved to California to be closer to his aging parents.

Selby ran a branch office of the Riverside County district attorney, supervising family support officers, attorneys and staff, as well as carrying a full caseload that included cases from the immediate community and crimes committed at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.

Selby next served as assistant district attorney of Tehama County, Calif.

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