Northumberland County votes to re-instate ADA
SUNBURY - Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini was successful Tuesday in persuading the salary board to re-instate a fifth assistant district attorney, but now he has to find the funding for the position.
After Rosini presented statistics from his own office and district attorney offices from other fifth-class counties that support his argument, the salary board voted 3-2 to approve his request.
Casting affirmative votes were Rosini, Controller Chris Grayson and Commissioner Richard Shoch. Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy voted no because no money is budgeted for the position that Clausi claims would cost $80,000 in salary and benefits.
Clausi questioned Rosini about his individual caseload and a backlog of approximately 800 criminal cases.
Rosini said he's directly involved with every death investigation and other serious cases.
He also prosecutes most of the juvenile cases and assists his ADAs with other matters.
He admitted the county has an extensive backlog of criminal cases. He said some cases are continued for various reasons, but for the most part, he said the attorneys and judges adhere to their schedules.
Rosini said the county averages about one homicide case a year.
Without a fifth ADA and county detective, the district attorney said it's very difficult to prosecute some cases and properly prepare for trials.
He said he had little choice but to let go of a detective.
"With a gun to my head, I chose to eliminate a county detective rather than a secretary," Rosini said. "I would have had to shut down my office if we lost a secretary."
Rosini agreed his office doesn't have money to pay for another ADA, but he's willing to seek grants to fund the post and hopefully have it funded through the county in the future.
"The safety of county taxpayers is a top priority and it's critical for us to have another ADA," Rosini said.
After the meeting, Rosini said he is pleased with the salary board's decision.
1,322 cases in 2013
Rosini has been working with four assistants for two years since laying off attorney John Muncer.
The district attorney pointed said only Lycoming County, which has a higher population than Northumberland County, had a heavier criminal caseload (2,210) in 2013 than his office (1,322). He said the Lycoming County district attorney's office has six full-time assistant district attorneys, one part-time assistant district attorney, four county detectives, nine full-time secretaries, two part-time secretaries and three paralegals.
In addition to the four full-time ADAs in his office, Rosini has three full-time secretaries.
He also pointed that Adams and Lawrence counties had criminal caseloads in 2013 of 1,262 and 1,467, respectively. Adams and Lawrence counties each have five full-time ADAs and one part-time assistant. Lawrence County has five detectives, while Adams has two. Both have one office manager/administrator. Adams County has five full-time secretaries, while Lawrence has two-full time secretaries.
Rosini received letters of endorsement for a fifth ADA from Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor and Dr. Pat Bruno, medical director for the Child Advocacy Center of Central Susquehanna Valley.