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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Florida Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden. He gets the award for the following.

Twelve days before Christmas, Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden fired his 17-year judicial assistant, who had been on leave since August with cancer.

lThe Jacksonville judge said he feared her prolonged illness would leave him without an assistant at a time when the state had implemented a hiring freeze.

But his decision left Christine Birch, 54, with no medical, life or disability insurance and has created a firestorm at the courthouse.

Chief Circuit Judge Donald Moran responded by calling Bowden "a no-good son of a bitch," prompting Bowden to respond with a blistering e-mail defending his decision and calling Moran's criticism irresponsible, unprofessional and unseemly.

Other judges' assistants were also appalled by Birch's firing. They raised money to pay her rent this month.

*****

Birch declined comment Thursday. But she thanked Moran in a handwritten note last week for putting her back on the courthouse payroll in a rotating judicial assistant's position. Birch was paid about $3,275 a month in her old job, and the state paid her health insurance premium. Her new rotating position pays $750 less a month and requires her to pay her own premiums.

Employees can be fired without cause in Florida. Florida Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden was within his legal right, but he's still a no-good son of a bitch as the Chief Judge called him, or today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Was the Judge really without a clerk? Read this-

Birch, who has battled cancer for five years, went on leave Aug. 20.

*****

But Moran's judicial assistant, Mary Lou Martinson, said she had assigned one of the rotating assistants to Bowden full-time at his request.

Florida Circuit Judge Aaron Bowden is a Knucklehead in this cancer survivor's opinion.


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Comments (5)

Did she work from him for 1... (Below threshold)

Did she work from him for 17 years? Because if she did, what a slap in the face to her from that "no good son of a bitch". He's not only a "knuckle-head", but an uber-douche bag of epic proportions..

And unless he did it just r... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

And unless he did it just right, he can be sued under the ADA law, which supercedes Florida's right to work law in this case. I know, I was there and I WON my suit.

Making a decision like this... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Making a decision like this should make everyone wonder if he has made 'fair' court decisions in the past, or knee jerk decisions like this one.

I read the entire story PLU... (Below threshold)
mikem Author Profile Page:

I read the entire story PLUS the pdf of the judge's response email and this guy is not a monster. She had already been on paid leave for several months and was refusing to return his calls and emails/letters as he tried to get her a medical disability retirement. The reason, apparantly, is that she didn't want to give up on the idea of a full recovery and getting back to the same job full time. That is admirable and what is happening to her is tragic and unfair, but after several months and with another several months looming she should have been at least willing to communicate with her boss about the situation her absence was creating. Getting a medical disability retirement is not the end of the world and would have allowed the judge to get the assistant he needed.
Maybe he should have just kept her on as a full time absent employee and adjusted his caseload, but he was trying to help her AND keep the judicial system running. She wouldn't even communicate with him (for months) and that more or less forced his hand. He was trying to help her but she didn't want it. She only wanted to stay on as a full time but absent employee and refused to even talk about going on disability.
Considering that she had been on paid medical leave since August and the judge's efforts to help her he is hardly a monster.

An BAH HUMBUG tou you judge... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

An BAH HUMBUG tou you judge




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