County leaders will work to find a permanent way to keep the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting all misdemeanor crimes. In the meantime, they figured out a way to keep those prosecutions going through the fall.
This agreement took place at a special meeting Tuesday called by Contra Costa Supervisors to address District Attorney Bob Kochly’s decision to stop prosecuting certain misdemeanors as of next week.
Kochly previously announced that the $1.9 million cut the supervisors said his office had to make in our county's current budget crisis would mean that his office would have to lay off six attorneys this week, which in turn would mean that his office could no longer review or file charges in certain misdemeanor cases.
These crimes included drug offenses, property crimes, simple assault or battery cases, and trespassing and loitering cases. The D.A.'s Office, however, would continue to prosecute misdemeanor DUIs, domestic violence cases, and sex crimes.
In a memo Kochly sent last week to county police chiefs, and obtained by Claycord.com, Kochly said: "With respect to these types of cases, we ask that they not even be submitted by your agency. If they are submitted, they will be screened out by category by support staff and returned to your department without review by a deputy district attorney."
That memo raised a stink among county police chiefs, county leaders, the public, and the media, including bloggers like me. At Tuesday’s special meeting with the supervisors Public Protection Committee, Kochly volunteered to cut his pay in the next fiscal year by 10 percent, which he said would be $25,000. He said that, combined with the resignation of three benefited attorneys this week, will save the jobs of six contract prosecutors who were to be laid off Thursday.
"At least it will buy us some time without incurring further expense to the county," Kochly said.
You can read more about the meeting in the Contra Costa Times story.
(Meanwhile, I have to ask whether 10-percent cut of his earnings only amounts to $25,000. As I reported earlier--based on report from Contra Costa Times’ Daniel Borenstein--Kochly earned $239,000 in salary and benefits in 2007. But that $239,000 didn't include his “double-dipping” annual pension of $165,000, which he earned from working for the county for much of his professional career as a prosecutor and then retiring before seeking the elected office of District Attorney. In 2007, the DA’s salary, plus his pension, made for a yearly total of at least $404,000.
Based on that 2007 figure, 10 percent of his total earnings from the county would be around $40,000, right? I'm not the greatest math wiz. Whatever the figure, it would be more than $25,000. Anyway, just a little tidbit I had to throw in there.)