District attorney denies excessive time off claim | VailDaily.com

District attorney denies excessive time off claim

Bruce Brown

EAGLE — District Attorney Bruce Brown says he took 26 days off last year, not the six-and-a-half weeks asserted by a Front Range newspaper.

Brown took issue with a Denver Post story, and said he has taken 68 days off in the 39 months since January 2013, when he was sworn in as the 5th Judicial District Attorney.

“As the DA, when the whistle blows at 5 o’clock, the criminals don’t consider that their time off, so it’s not time off for me either,” Brown said. “How do you quantify what it means to be off? Whether I want to be on or I want to be off, the criminal gets to decide.”

Opponent says he’d set a better example

“I don’t want to appear ungrateful. Everyone who lives here has put me in my position. I have always valued myself as having a very high work ethic, and I think that my words were tainted by a sense that I was being called something less than giving 100 percent to my job, which does strike me as unfair.”Bruce BrownDistrict attorney

Bruce Carey, Brown’s opponent in this year’s district attorney race, is a former prosecutor and is now a local defense attorney. If elected, he said he would set a better example.

“If elected, I would work it as a full-time job,” Carey said. “I learned, over 40 years ago, while serving in the United States Army, to lead by example.”

Carey said he has a list of things he would like to change, including requiring every paid attorney in the 5th Judicial District to carry a designated caseload, including him.

24,000 miles a year

The district attorney’s staff can also work a flexible schedule to accommodate their families and other responsibilities. Brown, for example, is a single dad and coaches baseball.

The job keeps him on the road 24,000 miles a year, he said, so sometimes he works from his home in Clear Creek County.

Colorado’s 5th Judicial District covers four counties — Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek — more than 3,000 square miles, and includes 17 law enforcement agencies.

“When I’m working 50 to 60 hours and I tell my staff ‘I’m off,’ that’s a fair thing to say. But it must be understood that DAs are never off. DAs are always on,” Brown said. “From a realistic point of view, does a job description that is so wide-ranging fall into a time-off policy that applies to our staff?”

‘Public servant, not a public slave’

Brown was also quoted as saying he’s “a public servant, not a public slave.”

“It is fair to say those words are incendiary and inappropriate, and could, to some degree, appear insulting to the public,” Brown said. “I don’t want to appear ungrateful. Everyone who lives here has put me in my position. I have always valued myself as having a very high work ethic, and I think that my words were tainted by a sense that I was being called something less than giving 100 percent to my job, which does strike me as unfair.”

Brown said his days off roll out like this:

2013: 17 days

2014: 22 days

2015: 26 days

2016: 3 days so far

Total: 68 days in 39 months, since January 2013.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.