Termination: Replacement set
Storm Lake attorney David Patton Wednesday verified that he has been terminated from his position as assistant county attorney.
"I no longer have the pleasure of serving in the county attorney's office," Patton said Wednesday. "I guess the city attorney and the police department and I have grown apart."
Patton had served as assistant county attorney for 10 years, and is a former member of the Storm Lake City Council.
Patton was charged Dec. 12 with Keeping a Disorderly House after police issued citations to underage individuals for alleged Possession of Alcohol and Frequenting a Disorderly House in connection with a party at the Patton home Nov. 26.
A total of 38 high-school and college-age students were charged in a controversial case. Police said Patton was home at the time. The party was reportedly a come-and-go, going-away function for a young adult serving in the military.
"I terminated him based on the incident itself," Havens said of Patton Wednesday. He said the outcome of the criminal charges would have had no bearing on his decision.
Havens said his decision to fire Patton was "based on his handling of it," speaking of the Nov. 26 incident.
"I thought he used poor judgment at the very least," Havens said. "I need somebody who is more reliable."
Havens said he read reports by the Storm Lake Police Department on the incident before making his decision. "After I read the reports, I made the decision to terminate him," Havens said.
Havens said he had outlined his concerns as reasons for his decision to terminate Patton in a letter he hand-delivered to Patton's office Dec. 21. He said he asked Patton to respond by Dec. 23 to those concerns and give him a reason to reverse his decision to terminate him, but received no response.
Patton told the Pilot-Tribune this week that he has enjoyed working with the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors during his service.
Havens said he has found a replacement for Patton, Meghann Whitmer, who practices in Holstein. Whitmer's hiring must be approved by the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors.