MADISON—The head of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association slammed Governor Walker’s administration today after it threatened the state’s assistant district attorneys with layoffs and substantial benefit changes if they refuse to agree to take six additional furlough days by June 30 of this year. Local prosecuting attorneys are covered under a contract with the state in which they already agreed to accept 10 furlough days.
“Due to the invaluable role that assistant district attorneys play in keeping our communities safe, they haven’t been subject to the same furlough requirements as many other public employees,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. “It’s unfortunate that Governor Walker has instead opted to resort to bullying tactics that will only make it more difficult to enforce our laws.”
In a letter to the Association of State Prosecutors dated April 6, Office of State Employee Relations Director Greg Gracz indicated that the refusal of additional furlough days would result in a 20 percent reduction in prosecutors’ full time status, a change that would impact all of their benefits, including sick leave.
According to a recent analysis of the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau, there is a current need for 117 additional assistant district attorneys statewide in order to keep pace with a growing caseload.
“Wisconsin has suffered from a shortage of local prosecutors for nearly a decade and Governor Walker’s plan would likely mean that some counties will have no assistant district attorneys and others will see their ability to enforce crimes such as domestic violence decimated,” said Palmer. “Keeping our streets safe requires officers to arrest those that violate the law and assistant district attorneys to enforce those violations through our judicial system. What good is it for law enforcement officers to arrest people for crimes that can’t possibly be prosecuted?”
“Governor Walker has said that public safety is a priority, but this threat reflects something else entirely.”