Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on July 4, for Independence Day.  
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive proposed budget to include nearly $4 million in cuts to services provided by Prosecutor

Summary

In order to help close a $60 million shortfall in the general fund, the cuts to be proposed by the King County Executive in his 2011 budget will include a reduction of $3.9 million from the King County Prosecutor's office – the equivalent of 33 full-time positions, including 22 deputy prosecutors and 11 staff.

Story

In order to help close a $60 million shortfall in the general fund, the cuts to be proposed by the King County Executive in his 2011 budget will include a reduction of $3.9 million from the King County Prosecutor's office – the equivalent of 33 full-time positions, including 22 deputy prosecutors and 11 staff.

This 9.1 percent reduction in the budget of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office (PAO) means the likely elimination of deputy prosecutor positions that are currently responsible for prosecuting domestic violence, economic crimes, juvenile offenders and violent crimes.

The Prosecutor’s Office may also be forced to eliminate some early plea negotiation positions – deputies who work to resolve criminal cases early in the process, saving time and money for the entire criminal justice system by bringing cases to a quick conclusion.

Staff positions that assist with domestic violence protection orders and prosecutions, elder abuse and victim assistance are also in jeopardy. The Prosecutor’s Office will simply not be able to provide the same level of advocacy to victims of serious crimes.

The $3.9 million cut comes on top of a $3 million cut in 2009 that resulted in the elimination of 27 positions within the prosecutor's office. The loss of 33 additional positions on top of the 2009 losses will lead to higher caseloads for deputies and increased time to trial for victims of sex offenses and violent crime.

While the number of prosecutors and staff continues to be cut, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says the number of violent crimes continues to rise, noting, "The budget cuts present us with a series of bad choices. We must either prosecute a growing number of crimes with fewer prosecutors or reduce the number of cases we prosecute as felonies. Neither choice protects the public."   
 
The proposed reductions in service from the Prosecutor’s office include the elimination of direct criminal justice services. Possible cuts in advocacy for victims, a decreased ability to prosecute particularly challenging cases in the areas of elder abuse and domestic violence, and long delays in trial for victims of crime will occur.

"We cannot operate the same quality criminal justice system we have built over the years here in King County with these massive budget cuts," said Prosecutor Satterberg. "Our system will feel the impact, resulting in fewer services for our victims of crime and the citizens of our county."

In addition, the Prosecutor said he will be forced to eliminate positions within the Civil Division of the office. The Civil Division represents King County in all civil legal disputes including lawsuits filed against the County. The elimination of civil deputies in sections dealing with employment and tort liability will lead to increased liability exposure of the county, which could mean more pay outs if and when the County is successfully sued.

Prosecutor Satterberg has imposed a salary freeze on senior attorneys and staff. Last night, members of the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Association (DPAA) overwhelmingly agreed to give up their contractual right to a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2011. Their vote will save the PAO an additional $150,000.

The Prosecutor has asked his represented staff employees to make the same sacrifice, and if they agree, the combined salary savings in his office would total nearly $900,000 and help alleviate the cuts in services.

Prosecutor Satterberg thanked his employees for their spirit of sacrifice. "Our employees are doing their part to share in the sacrifice that the citizens of King County are making in these tough economic times," he noted. 
  
The Executive will outline all the cuts he must make to submit a balanced budget when he delivers his 2011 budget proposal on Monday, Sept. 27, in a speech before the Metropolitan King County Council. Appearing below are the line items from the proposed budget book:

Appro Name

Change Item

Change Item Title

Proposed Expenditures

Proposed Revenues

Proposed FTEs

Prosecuting Attorney

DS05

Criminal Division Staff Reductions

(3,517,831)

0

(31.00)

Prosecuting Attorney

DS06

Civil Division Staff Reductions

(339,459)

0

(2.00)

 

 

 

(3,857,290)

0

(33.00)




King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography