DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A veteran supervising investigator fired by Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk may now get his job back.
Jeff Savage told CBS11 News he met with Hawk Monday morning, and she not only offered him his old job, but an apology for not handling the situation properly. Savage said he’s not sure why he was fired back in June, but he said he apologized to Hawk as well for whatever may have led to his firing.
He said he’s willing to return.
The development comes after Hawk revealed to D Magazine she had suicidal thoughts before and during her treatment for depression at the Menninger Clinic in Houston. She told the magazine she considered taking a lot of sleeping pills she had back on July 29, and in August in Houston. During her treatment, she also told the magazine that she wondered if she could use a hair dryer chord or her purse strap to strangle herself. Hawk also admitted to D Magazine she suffered from paranoia.
Another top administrator Hawk fired, Cindy Stormer, said she saw this behavior up close. Until last month, Stormer was the chief of the administrative division in the DA’s office.
Stormer said Hawk “would come into my office and order me to turn off my computer to speak to me. And she would say people are listening to us.”
A memo sent to reporters from Hawk’s First Assistant Messina Madson, said the DA’s office fired Stormer because she failed to pay two bills on time, and because she mishandled an unrelated criminal case involving the suspect accused of firing gunshots at Dallas police headquarters in June. Stormer insisted she acted properly on all accounts, and now is considering filing a petition or civil lawsuit to have Hawk thrown out of office. “I think the only thing to do now is to file a petition to remove.”
SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson has followed the Hawk story closely and says she revealed too many details in the magazine about her bout with depression. “The damage is more serious than it has ever been.”
Jillson said he believes she hasn’t accepted full responsibility for the controversy surrounding the employees she fired. “If you’re that ill and you’re paranoid and act on that paranoia and remove people who were your closest associates that means the paranoia is leading you to make personnel decisions.”
Jillson says he would be surprised if Hawk serves her entire four year term, but says, “She may be able to survive for awhile, but I think she’s clearly a one-term DA. The idea she can be re-elected for this office in DAllas is a fantasy.”
But Merrie Spaeth, a former director of media relations at the White House during the Reagan administration and now a veteran crisis communications expert believes voters will give Hawk a second chance, because of her health issues.
Spaeth said, “No free passes on this. A second chance is quite different. A second chance, you have to prove yourself. You have to be reasonable, you have to be thoughtful, you have to go the extra mile. She has to prove she can go above and beyond.”
Spaeth said Hawk only has a few weeks to re-establish her credibility with her staff and the public.
She says she should have already begun meeting with all of her staff in small groups and listening to their concerns.
But Stormer believes Hawk has already done enough damage. “She has a very severe mental illness and it’s wreaking havoc, and it’s causing an extremely toxic working environment.”
Hawk is scheduled to speak with reporters Thursday.
She didn’t return our call Monday.
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