The idea of a full-time assistant district attorney was met with conflicting opinions at the public safety committee meeting. District Attorney Joe Schieffer was in favor, but Clerk of Courts Jackie Baasch was not.
The Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee voted last month to fund 20 counties, including Burnett, with a full-time assistant district attorney (ADA.) The state legislature would still need to pass the measure and Gov. Tony Evers would need to sign it.
If passed, it is expected to start Oct. 1, according to state budget documents.
Baasch spoke to the effect it would have on her office.
“The full-time ADA along with having the court commissioner possibly hearing cases two days a week might be tough for our office,” Baasch told the public safety committee. “That work load might become impossible to keep up with.”
Currently the Court of Courts office is in charge of cases being worked by the DA, part-time ADA Dan Steffen and court commissioner hearings on Fridays.
She explained her staff is already stretched out very thin with their current staff and adding a full-time ADA would necessitate hiring more staff.
“Then we run into the problem of, we don’t have any room for anyone else working in our offices,” Baasch said.
Schieffer said a full-time ADA would greatly help him out.
“Having a full-time ADA would give us more time to deal with cases,” Schieffer said. “Right now, we’re in ‘triage mode’ – we’re treating things as they come in and moving on to the next. This would also give us more time.
He also stated Oct. 1 just happens to be his birthday and this would be “a heck of a birthday present.”