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DA's office state cuts are offset
Supplemental pay raise to make up for furlough

COVINGTON - County commissioners agreed Tuesday night to raise a supplement given to employees with the District Attorney's Office to address a state-mandated furlough.

The state began requiring a one day per month furlough for staff in DA offices throughout Georgia beginning Sept. 1. The DA's office has five state employees, including three assistant district attorneys, one investigator, and one secretary/office manager.

"This will severely cripple the ability of the district attorney's office to function properly and to protect the citizens of Newton County," Ken Wynne said in an e-mail to commissioners.

Each state employee receives a state salary and a supplement from the county "to attract and maintain qualified employees," Wynne said.

Wynne asked the county to raise the supplement in an amount equal to one day's pay for each employee for the next 10 months - a total of $10,629.

The District Attorney's Office will reimburse the county from other funding sources, including funds that have been forfeited from drug dealers and racketeers, meaning taxpayers will not bear the additional cost.

"I have used these funds for equipment purchases, training, software purchases and other non-personnel expenses. As a matter of policy, I have refrained from using these for personnel expenses because I believe that such could be misperceived as personal gain by public employees," Wynne said. "Due to the furloughs, however, I believe that such action is warranted to allow my state employees to continue working and to avoid a pay cut resulting from furloughs."

Commissioners unanimously approved the supplement increase, which will be retroactive to Sept. 1.

A similar request was also approved by the Walton County Board of Commissioners. Walton and Newton counties together comprise the Alcovy Judicial Circuit.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.