With the formal serving of charges of misconduct, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will be placed on administrative leave without pay.
“Ross Mirkarimi has now pled guilty to falsely imprisoning his wife. After careful review of the City Charter and the evidence before me, I am suspending and formally charging Ross Mirkarimi with official misconduct,” said Mayor Ed Lee.
The announcement came a day after Mirkarimi ignored an ultimatum issued privately by the Mayor: resign or face eviction from office. The high-stakes showdown has been brewing for 3 months – even before Mirkarimi was sworn into office.
However, the former County Supervisor has sworn to fight for his job in the face of pressure, from outside of City Hall, to resign. Joining the chorus of voices asking for him to resign was former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.
Women’s rights groups have also been vocal in their belief that his guilty plea to misdemeanor charges was insufficient to render justice. They argue that the plea also undermines his integrity, corrupting his ability to enforce the laws.
Mayor Lee initiated official misconduct proceedings against Mirkarimi by directing the City Attorney to prepare the appropriate documents and notify the Board of Supervisors and the Ethics Commission, suspending Mirkarimi as Sheriff as early as tomorrow. After five days, the Ethics Commission will begin a process to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
“I take this action with every conviction that I am acting on a firm legal basis and doing what is in the best interest of the people of San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee
While the case is pending, Lee has appointed a longtime San Francisco employee, Vicki Hennessy, as the interim Sheriff.
Hennessy served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Department. Hennessy joined the Sheriff’s Department in December 1975 and quickly rose through the ranks becoming the youngest captain in California law enforcement in 1983. She became Chief Deputy in 1997. She has worked in nearly every division of the Sheriff’s Department including Captain of the old San Bruno jail, City prison, the high security jail at the Hall of Justice and the intake jail at 425 7th Street. She was at various times in charge of Training, Administration, Field Services, and the Custody Division.
In 2006, Hennessy was the Deputy Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security where she developed a comprehensive Citywide strategic plan for preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from disasters.
In 2008, Hennessy was named the Director of Emergency Management, where she brought a level of stability to the new department, oversaw the completion of the City’s state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center, ensured the completion of the redesign and update of the 911 Emergency Call taking center, developed the first Combined Emergency Communications Operations Manual and decreased the DEM operating budget by $11 million. Hennessy retired in 2011. She is a native San Franciscan and a Lowell High School graduate. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband, a retired San Francisco police officer. They have two grown children.