MARTINEZ -- The push to recall Contra Costa Supervisor Karen Mitchoff has ended, the Deputy Sheriffs Association announced Tuesday.
Contra Costa sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Welch, president of the union, said his agency wanted to work on the "attrition and recruitment problems" involving his department, rather than wage the recall effort.
"I met with Karen, and she apologized for the comments she made, and I accepted that apology," he said. "Right now, our focus is on working on a committee to stop people from leaving."
The union filed recall papers May 12 against Mitchoff, saying she threatened retaliation for a union-led effort to rescind a 33 percent raise supervisors had voted for themselves last year. The union, along with other county labor organizations, had also sued Mitchoff and her colleague, Supervisor Mary Piepho, over the same issue before abandoning that pursuit as well.
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Mitchoff said she was happy to hear the recall effort was over and that it wouldn't potentially cost voters $500,000 if placed on a ballot.
"We can all move forward now and taxpayers won't have to bear the price tag for a recall election," she said.
The union would have had to collect almost 11,500 signatures to trigger the recall election. Politicians from the region had been pressing union leaders to drop the recall bid, Welch said, including Supervisor John Gioia.
"I respect the fact folks have different points of view, but elections are the time to raise those issues," Gioia said. "Having a recall at this time would create a distraction while we have many difficult issues to handle."
Welch said he hopes to form a committee to discuss retaining deputies -- who have been leaving for higher paying jobs in other law enforcement agencies -- and acknowledged the recall effort would have made those discussions difficult.
"It wasn't a retaliation type thing," Welch said. "Our main purpose was to protect our negotiations in our contract and our rights as employees to bargain with our employer ... and we felt that was threatened."
Mitchoff said she met with Welch to discuss her statements that led to the brief recall effort.
"Words were spoken," she said. "It was a very emotional time. I regret the words I chose to say then and that it caused their members such angst."
The Deputy Sheriffs Association contract ends next year.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.