Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

DA taps gay man to admin post


Paul Henderson
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San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris appointed veteran deputy district attorney Paul Henderson as head of administration at the beginning of December. His appointment to the new position creates a power team of openly queer managers running the district attorney's office: Martha Knutzen, a lesbian, is manager of legal operations; and Tim Silard, an openly gay man, is chief of policy.

"It was really a natural progression for my career," said Henderson, who worked under two other district attorneys: Arlo Smith and Terence Hallinan, "and dovetailed with some of my own personal interests."

Henderson, 40, who is openly gay, told the Bay Area Reporter that he is excited about his new job, in particular managing the Community Justice Center. This past spring, the district attorney's office partnered with Mayor Gavin Newsom to create " lang=EN a collaborative, problem-solving service center with a court on site," according to a May news release announcing the program. The program was developed to help communities build safer neighborhoods through prevention and accountability of low-level crimes in a local setting, according to the release.

Henderson will also represent the district attorney's office with city agencies dealing with misdemeanor and quality of life crime initiatives, improve diversity hiring practices, and manage recruiting and outreach. Additionally, he'll work with Harris's executive staff handling daily administration of the office.

"The office is moving forward under the direction of an outstanding senior management team, to which Paul is the newest addition," said Harris. "The redefinition of the head of administration role is another step that we have taken to institutionalize better professional practices in the SFDA's office."

As deputy district attorney, Henderson is well versed in quality of life crimes as well as managing a legal team. For the past three years he co-managed the trial division, where he supervised 19 deputy attorneys and a variety of cases. He has prosecuted hate crimes and other felony and misdemeanor cases and worked in a variety of departments from the juvenile division and the narcotics division.

"As someone who has come up through the ranks here," said Harris, "Paul represents the next generation of veteran prosecutors and it's wonderful to have him filling this position."

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