Administrator alleges DA Paul Howard sexually harassed her
Former top aide sues Fulton DA, alleging gender discrimination
Willis said she felt compelled to enter the race after hearing from a bevy of constituents and former colleagues over the past few months.
“I have gotten calls from South Fulton, North Fulton, Buckhead just begging me to run,” said Willis, who is giving up her job as South Fulton’s chief municipal court judge to run for district attorney.
The office is “broken,” she said — an indictment of Howard’s leadership style punctuated by heavy turnover. Most who have left “don’t believe they’ve been respected and appreciated,” Willis said.
“When you have that lack of retention you create a safety hazard,” she said. “You’ve got too many young lawyers in that office without experience or training.”
Former Fulton assistant district attorney Charlie Bailey said frustration with Howard “has been building for quite awhile.”
Recent allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by three women who work or worked for the office “may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Bailey said.
Willis, he said, misrepresents his record, though he sidestepped the issue of turnover.
“Since 1997, I have worked to reduce the vacancy rate in my office from 50 percent down to a current all-time low of six percent,” Howard said in a statement. “Currently, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office maintains 108 Assistant District Attorney positions and there are only five vacancies which developed within the last three weeks.”
Willis said she appreciates the difficulty of the job she seeks.
“I understand I’m not the only wise counsel in the room,” she said.