Prosecutor’s office using budget increase to add to staff, raise pay

Steve Chapman

When Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Don Trotter’s office received a near $80,000 boost in their budget this year, Trotter decided to use the extra funds to make pay for the assistant prosecutors competitive with other counties.
“We had a half-time employee attorney; we made that a full-time position,” he said. “On top of that … my assistant attorneys were making very little money, and what I did is I brought them up to close to what the surrounding counties were paying their assistant prosecutors, so now I’m where we should be paying our assistant prosecutors.”
Last year, the prosecutor’s office had a budget of $529,744.26. This year, the budget is $609,593.12. In addition to giving his assistant attorneys raises, Trotter also used the funds to raise pay for his support staff, which he said will reduce turnover in his office.
“I also brought the secretaries’ pay up, because several of my secretaries were making just at minimum wage, and based on that, I was not able to maintain a full staff,” he said. “Last year, I spent most of the year with half of my staff gone because I couldn’t maintain people at minimum wage. So now, I’ve got everybody up to a minimum of $12 per hour, but they still only get 35 hours a week. I’m hoping to be competitive with the rest of the job market.
 I still have one staff position that’s not been filled, and we’re in the process of trying to fill that.”
Trotter also added a half-time position prosecutor to his office, which he said now gives him enough manpower to form two prosecuting teams. This allows his office to expedite cases that have been languishing for some time.
“With the two teams, we’re going to be able to work all these trials and go through them, and hopefully get it down to where we don’t have anybody in this jail more than just a few months.”
Trotter also said lowering the jailhouse population will save the county a lot of money in housing inmates.
“I’m going to try and remove and lower this jail population,” he said. “By being able to do that, I think I can save us … $150,000 to $200,000 a year on just jail population.
Without the budget increase which allowed him to add people to his staff and raise pay, Trotter said his office could not perform at the level they currently are.
“Right now … there’s no way we could have kept up with this kind of a schedule if we didn’t get the extra position,” he said. “We just couldn’t do it. I would have had to have tried and turned every single one of them, and that’s just not possible to be ready for the next case. You can’t have trying two cases back to back and then be ready for another case the next week and do a good job of it. This way, we’ve got two guys at the table to concentrate on these cases and look at stuff the entire time.”


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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