Feedback: Lawmakers Look At Increasing Space, Salaries In DA's Office

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It's not a new problem, but St. Lawrence County legislators are now taking a closer look at how to free up space for the cramped District Attorney's office in an effort to improve the office's continuity and efficiency.

At the same time, county lawmakers are looking at increasing the salaries of assistant DAs.

One plan being considered would cost close to $600,000 and would involve relocating Planning Office and the Real Property Department, both on the second floor.

It would allow District Attorney Mary Rain and her staff to move into that space, located just down the hall from the county courtroom.

"We're going to have to discuss and decide what we think is best in working with the DA's office to try to solve these problems. There's no way that we can ignore it. It's been too long," said county Legislature Chair Jonathan Putney.

Meanwhile, legislators are considering a new pay scale to attract and retain attorneys in the prosecutor's office.

One plan under consideration would give Chief Assistant DA David Haggard a $93,000 salary, considerably higher than the $59,000 to $75,000 salary scale approved by legislators in 2009.

"Mary ran as a Republican. We have a Democratic majority legislature, but at the end of the day, we're called to serve the public and so this is just simply the right thing to do," said Putney.

Rain has staff spread out over different locations in the county courthouse.

She says there is a pressing need to address the salary and space problems - the same problems faced by previous prosecutors.

A recommendation on a reorganization of office space could come in about a month.

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Friday, December 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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