March 9, 2005
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is trying to stop the march of prosecutors out his agency’s door by asking the county for $6.3 million in pay raises.
The turnover is becoming critical because he is being left with junior prosecutors to appear in court against seasoned defense attorneys, Thomas said Tuesday.
"The prosecutors in this office have not been receiving a competitive wage for some years," he said.
Thomas took over the office from Richard Romley in January. Romley had been in control since 1988.
The office, which prosecutes all felonies committed in the county, is losing prosecutors to better-paying counties, such as Pinal and Pima, and to city prosecutor offices, which prosecute only misdemeanors, Thomas said.
Starting salaries for deputy county attorneys is $51,000, compared with about $63,000 in salary and deferred compensation given to six new prosecutors hired by Phoenix in 2004, according to the county attorney’s office.
Thomas said he wants his office, which has a turnover rate of 20 percent, to match salaries at the Phoenix prosecutor’s office.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will decide whether he gets the money. Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, RDistrict 1 of Chandler, said he believes Thomas made the proposal without a full understanding of the county’s budget process.
Brock said the board will review the request.