SAN DIEGO -- Bonnie Dumanis, who served as San Diego County's top prosecutor for nearly 15 years, officially left office Friday during a "walk-out" ceremony in front of dozens of employees, supporters, family and friends at the Hall of Justice.
The 65-year-old district attorney announced her decision to step down in April, saying she is exploring a possible run for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Dumanis has spent more than 40 years in public life, working as a clerk typist, investigative assistant, deputy district attorney, Juvenile Court referee, Municipal Court judge and Superior Court judge before becoming the D.A.
"Serving as District Attorney has been an absolute privilege and one of the highest honors of my professional life," Dumanis said.
"Working as D.A. alongside an incredibly talented group of professionals for nearly 15 years to deliver justice to the people of San Diego has been a richly rewarding experience. Together, we have been leaders in change and a voice of justice for so many," she said. "I'm very proud of the unparalleled crime prevention and public outreach programs we've put in place and our unwavering commitment to supporting victims of crime."
Dumanis, who was in her fourth term, endorsed veteran prosecutor Summer Stephan as her successor. Others who applied for the job were Adam Gordon, a former prosecutor who now practices in business litigation and white-collar defense, and retired prosecutor Greg Walden.
Last month, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to appoint Stephan as interim D.A.
Supervisor Kristin Gaspar cast the dissenting vote, saying she wanted to follow county policy and send the candidates to a second interview.
"We had three candidates apply for the interim D.A. position," Gaspar said. "As a business owner, I believe in thoroughly vetting any potential employee. The county's policy for filling a vacancy requires two rounds of interviews. I voted to send all three candidates on to a second interview and therefore did not support waiving the second interview."
Gaspar said said has "complete confidence that Summer Stephan will be a strong and effective leader as interim District Attorney."
Opponents of Stephan's appointment contended that it would give her an unfair advantage when elections for a full term are held. Both Gordon and Walden said they wouldn't be candidates for the permanent job.