Public Defender Matt Shirk
Irregular hiring, texting and firing
After seeing a Facebook photo of a woman he met at a charity event, 4th Judicial Court Public Defender Matt Shirk asked then-director of investigations A.L. Kelly to set up a job interview, according to Kelly. The woman did have experience in the legal field, but she was hired by Shirk directly, an “irregularity” at best. After also hiring the woman’s friend, Shirk was accused by other staff members for behavior described as “inappropriate,” including the exchange of flirtatious text messages and emails with a third woman, and inviting them to drink alcohol in his office. Then there’s Shirk’s prolonged absences from the office, possible violations of the law related to the destruction of public records, and the issuance of an access card to the building to his wife Michelle, who was not an employee or volunteer at the PD’s office. One of her visits led to a public confrontation and the alleged firing of one of the women. Shortly thereafter, the three women were let go. Shirk’s chief of staff Ron Mallett resigned. Shirk has admitted to some of the “inappropriate behavior” but insists he did not engage in any improper relationships or break any laws, an assertion that’s being investigated by a special prosecutor.