REPEATS URGENT REQUEST FOR LEGISLATURE TO RAISE SALARIES BEFORE JANUARY
MONTICELLO - District Attorney Meagan Galligan today acknowledged that just four Assistant District Attorneys remain employed in her office while trying to get the County Legislature to raise the starting salaries of new ADAs.
Galligan was before the County Legislature today to request going into executive session to talk about the staff shortage and the urgency of raising the salaries of ADAs.
But the discussion ended up taking place in a public forum.
"I want to talk about pay and the threat of losing the four (ADAs) we have," Galligan told the legislators.
Sources had told The SullivanTimes in recent days that Galligan has experienced additional departures of Assistant District Attorneys, in addition to Robert Zangla, who was scheduled to work for the County Attorney's Office this week. The SullivanTimes yesterday made a Freedom of Information request to the County asking for a list of the existing ADA's in the district attorney's office and their individual salaries.
Legislature Chair Rob Doherty initially shut down Galligan when she tried to talk. Legislator Joe Perrello , who invited Galligan to speak today - but in executive session - then vented angrily at Doherty for not letting Galligan speak. When McGuire explained that the topic did not warrant executive session, Galligan then went to the podium to make a public comment.
"I'm here because my office is hamstrung by this year's budget," Galligan said. "This can't wait until the new budget takes effect in January.
The starting salary for an ADA is $53,000 and is significantly lower than neighboring counties and counties around the state. Galligan added that her office needs the ability to also raise the salaries of the more experienced ADAs that are significantly lower than counties of similar sizes around the state.
Galligan added that bail and discovery reform has put enormous demands on the workload of current ADAs.
She cited as an example Sunday's capture in Mamakating of an armed suspect who shot at State Police and in which there were 15 troopers on the scene with body cams.
"Who do you think has to review that before it's turned over to the defense? " Galligan said.
Legislator Luis Alvarez, a former Sheriff's deputy, implored the Legislature to meet with Galligan sooner than later. "Let's get it done," Alvarez said, adding that there are victims out there who are not getting justice because of the emergency situation.
The legislators decided that Galligan will meet with the two caucuses of the Legislature to discuss the problems more in detail, likely early next week.