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While a controversial proposal to outsource background investigations at the District Attorney’s office has been shelved until March, a brewing public battle between county supervisors’ Chairman Todd Spitzer and DA Tony Rackauckas over the issue has some observers wondering whether it signals the start of the 2018 campaign for District Attorney.

Earlier this month, after Spitzer raised disclosure issues about the outsourcing proposal, Rackauckas fired away at the chairman of the board in a rare public letter – also posted on the DA’s website.

Spitzer raised issues because the DA’s head of investigations, former Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter, was trying to outsource part of his staff’s work to a longtime colleague from his time at the Anaheim Police Department. Hunter didn’t disclose his connection to the contractor in his staff report to county supervisors.

This “doesn’t mean there’s any impropriety, it just means we should know about it,” Spitzer said at the time.

Rackauckas went right after Spitzer, accusing him of using his position to make “misleading allegations” that harm the public.

“Releasing misinformation to the public is bad government,” Rackauckas wrote in his letter. “I respectfully urge you to obtain facts before you speak and to discontinue unmeritorious attacks that affect the hard working professionals of the OCDA, and ultimately the public.”

Last week, Spitzer fired back.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, by your letter of February 2, 2015, that attempts to prevent me and the Board of Supervisors (“Board”) from carrying out our duty to provide oversight of all County departments,” Spitzer wrote.

“In your public relations effort to embarrass me and intimidate the Board (drafting a toxic filled letter full of innuendoes and inaccuracies; immediately posting the letter on your website; sending out a press release), you have failed to realize that the questions raised have averted potential legal issues with your proposal.”

Spitzer criticized Rackauckas’ for “woefully inadequate legal research” saying that unionized workers – such as DA investigators – had already raised legal issues that before any outsourcing can occur a formal meet-and-confer process has to occur.

Click here to read Spitzer’s letter to the DA.

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