County Supervisor Janet Wolf’s administrative assistant James Kyriaco announced his resignation after being contacted by Santa Barbara News-Press editor Travis Armstrong last week regarding his record of public intoxication and driving while under the influence.
Kyriaco had been arrested twice for DUI between 1998 and 2003. No injuries occurred as a result. Kyriaco has since not been in trouble with the law. Armstrong’s interest in Kyriaco’s drinking problems surfaced after the News-Press published several editorials attacking Kyriaco and Wolf for not turning over notes that Kyriaco passed to Wolf during a particularly contentious supervisors’ meeting last week. (Wolf’s assistant Mary O’Gorman stated that Wolf has since made available the content of those notes to the News-Press, but that no one from the daily paper has contacted Wolf’s office.)
Kyriaco declined to discuss his resignation, other than to acknowledge his past legal problems. He sent out an email to associates contesting the assertion of an unnamed relative in the most recent News-Press article about his resignation, stating that Wolf was well aware of his past when she hired him. For some, the Kyriaco articles have been denounced as character assassination. Wolf herself has come under criticism for accepting Kyriaco’s resignation and in some quarters is believed to have asked for it. (By law, Wolf cannot comment on personnel matters.)
In a related vein, Gil Armijo, Supervisor Joe Centeno’s administrative assistant, accused Sheriff Bill Brown of offering his deputies overtime pay incentives for cracking down on drunk drivers. Armijo was recently arrested for drunk driving. Sheriff Brown dismissed the charges as “ludicrous.”