Kings County supervisors delayed action on the district attorney's proposal to hire two independent attorneys on a contract basis to avoid disrupting court proceedings following a slew of resignations after a deputy DA told them it would make the problem worse. Source: Kings County

What's at stake?

In light of deputy DAs' resignations, Kings County District Attorney says independent attorneys should be hired or the courts won't function properly.

July, 25, 2023 — Kings County Board of Supervisors

Documented by Matthew Carnero-Macias

What happened: Kings County supervisors tabled a request Tuesday by District Attorney Sarah Hacker to contract part time with two independent attorneys from out of state at what some considered an exorbitant hourly rate after several resignations in the office.

Hacker has been sounding the alarm for the past few board meetings about the need to raise the pay of deputy district attorneys so the county is competitive with other DA’s offices and court proceedings can continue smoothly. On Tuesday she told supervisors that the number of job applicants for the deputy positions has dramatically decreased, partly because of very poor Bar exam results.

“Due to the attrition that has been happening in the office, we will be down to approximately 50% of the deputy district attorneys that this county needs,” she said. “My concern with having a level of district attorneys so low is that we will not be able to file in-custody complaints and man our staff in all of the courtrooms.”

However, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Cook told the board that the proposal to hire attorneys working remotely at a high pay rate is unsatisfactory, would contribute to low morale in the office and lead to additional resignations.

“If the board decides to approve this recent proposal I believe that there will be several more attorneys that leave the office, creating a situation where we won’t be able to function effectively as a District Attorney’s Office,” Cook said. He added that a more viable solution would be to adjust current attorney salaries for retention and recruitment efforts. 

In the end, the board was concerned after listening to Cook that a quick OK of Hacker’s proposal would discourage attorneys in the office, and unanimously voted to table the item for further study until the next regular meeting.  

And also: The board recognized Operation Moovin’ Out, a four-year-long joint operation between the Kings County Major Crimes Task Force and the Department of Justice, which targeted the Crip gang and resulted in 62 criminal arrests.  

Sheriff David Robinson said the joint operation has cut back on drug sales, human trafficking and money laundering in the area.

Up next: The Kings County Board of Supervisors will meet again Aug. 1 at 9 a.m.

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.

The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...