Paul Henderson, District Attorney George Gascón’s chief of administration and possible competition for The City’s top prosecutor job in November’s election, has decided not to run for the position and will instead head to the Mayor’s Office in a public safety policy leadership role.
“After very carefully weighing all of my options, I have re-evaluated my initial goal to run for the office of San Francisco district attorney this November,” Henderson said in a statement. “I am still driven to serve this city in public service, but this is not the right time for me to seek that office.”
“I will be supporting D.A. Gascón in his candidacy and will be working to ensure his every success,” Henderson said.
Mayor’s Office spokeswoman Christine Falvey confirmed Henderson will become Mayor Ed Lee’s policy adviser on public safety in March.
Henderson filed to run for district attorney in November, as the heir-apparent of Kamala Harris following her successful run for California attorney general.
However, outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom shocked The City by appointing Gascón, the former police chief, as Harris’ replacement in January, just before Newsom left to take the lieutenant governor’s job.
Gascón then announced his intention to run for a four-year term for district attorney this November, throwing Henderson’s campaign into limbo.
Wednesday’s news came as Gascón announced the details of a broad reorganization of the District Attorney’s Office, to include fewer management positions and consolidated felony units.
“It’s really trying to make the office run more efficiently,” Gascón said.
Gascón said the restructuring would not save money in terms of pay, but hoped it would save in the long term because of efficiencies and cutting down a backlog of hundreds of criminal prosecutions.
“When we’re falling behind in cases, cases generally do not get better with time,” Gascón said. “Victims move. Witnesses move. They lose interest in the case.”
New direction for prosecutors
District Attorney George Gascón’s reorganization of his office:
- Prosecutorial teams consolidated
- No. 2 position in office, chief assistant district attorney, eliminated
- Three managers now report to Gascón — David Pfeifer, chief of special operations; Sharon Woo, chief of operations; and Eugene Clendinen, chief of support services
- Expanded community court program
- New chief of staff, Cristine DeBerry
- Working groups to eliminate case backlog, improve communications and enhance technology