Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has banished veteran staffers to office purgatory, where they remove staples or shred documents eight hours a day, insiders told The Post.
One staffer — paid her usual rate of $23 an hour to do the menial work — was so fed up, she quit after five months. “I was reprimanded the first day because I tore a corner off [the paper] when I couldn’t get a staple out,” she said, adding, “I felt so disgraced. It was a torture chamber.”
At least a half-dozen employees were targeted because they were perceived as loyalists to Thompson’s disgraced predecessor Charles Hynes, and it was easier for the new DA to demote them than to face a union backlash for firing them, sources said.
Some of the newly minted flunkies have college degrees and taxpayer-funded salaries up to $60,000, sources said. Some worked previously in neighborhood satellite offices. Others had experience in offices at the prosecutor’s Jay Street headquarters.
“When I went to do my job, I was humiliated,” said an ex-staffer who worked in the now-defunct Neighborhood Office program.
After being reassigned to the document dungeon, she was ordered to sort old homicide files and then pry staples from documents.
The papers are then scanned and carted off to Joralemon Street for shredding.
“You start to go out of your mind,” she said. “I was embarrassed for people I’ve known so many years to see me, sitting at a desk pulling out staples hour after hour.”
Thompson replaced Hynes’ neighborhood program last year and replaced it with the Action Center on the 16th floor. The staple stable is a tiny, bleak office on the same floor, with boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling.
Lupe Todd, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn DA, denied that any employees were targeted, demoted or humiliated. She said the document work is necessary and commonplace at all of the city’s DA offices as they computerize records. She said only four employees are currently assigned to the process, out of 1,200 workers.
“It is laughable to insinuate that everyone who worked under Hynes is now doing some form of menial work,” Todd said.
“In fact, morale now is much higher and people are happy to come to work in a professional district attorney’s office.”
Still, some longtime employees said talent — and taxpayer money — is being wasted.
“You have a lot of qualified people, and it’s ridiculous to have them removing staples and paper clips all day,” said one worker who has visited the 16th floor.
Another staffer left from the Hynes era said, “It is like we wear a scarlet letter.”
Last month The Post revealed accusations that Thompson had turned detectives on his security detail into errand boys who picked up his dry cleaning and take-out food, and carried household trash from the steps of his million-dollar brownstone to the curb. If the investigators protested, sources said, they were reassigned to dead-end cases.