There’s a lot of uncertainty facing the state’s district attorneys. Layoffs are said to be “imminent,” even though, as Association of State Prosecutors President Catherine White notes, a contract was ratified and signed by the governor back in November. “The state budget didn’t fund the contract,” says White. “So now they’re laying people off to pay the costs of the contract.”
The state Department of Administration says budgets for district attorneys are one-point-three million dollars short each year of the current two year state budget. District attorneys in all 72 Wisconsin counties are waiting to find out about potential layoffs. White, the D.A. in Shawano County, says they’re already understaffed. “According to the Legislative Audit Bureau report issued two years ago, we’re understaffed by two attorneys in a three person office. So we’re in deep trouble as it is. If we lose anybody else, we’re really going to be in bad shape.” The state Department of Administration has yet to provide details on those layoffs, which White says could be short or long term.
AUDIO: Catherine White w/WTCH’s Doug Erdman (3:00 MP3) AUDIO: Catherine White interview w/WTCH’s Doug Erdman