A number of positions are vacant or will be vacated in the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, and until the positions are filled there’s likely to be a ripple effect of strain felt on staff, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.
Open positions include a district court deputy prosecutor, an attorney to handle Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) cases, a paralegal position and vacancies in the office’s civil case division.
Most of the strain is likely to fall on staff members more than staff attorneys, said Meyer, as extra work is handed off to them in the meantime. However, attorneys will still be burdened with at least some extra work due to what Meyer called an “all hands on deck” situation.
Meyer said economic factors make filling jobs within his office’s ranks more difficult, because it’s often more lucrative to find work in the private sector.
“I’m confident that any of our attorneys and a good majority of our staff could walk out today and make more money in the private sector, but they believe in what we’re doing here,” he said.
One person is slated to start in October and will be relocating from Las Vegas, Nevada.
The new hire will be doing a mixture of civil and ITA cases — with Meyer pointing out that restructuring some duties is a strategy that’s being employed.
“The main thing is, this isn’t a big office, so we need to make sure we get the right fit, but given the economy right now, it’s tough to get applicants,” he said, adding that private practice attorneys have reported having trouble finding applicants for staff positions, too.
District court, which handles non-felony criminal matters, typically sees a fair amount of turnover, said Meyer, adding that it’s often a place for new attorneys fresh out of law school.
While the office tries to promote from within, when superior court attorney positions are filled up, it often leads to district court vacancies.