Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Commission OKs Extra $200,000 for District Attorney's Budget

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Commission OKs Extra $200,000 for District Attorney's Budget

Article excerpt

Shawnee County will provide District Attorney Mike Kagay $200,000 in contingency money to cover additional costs his office will incur dealing with the expansion of Shawnee County District Court's criminal court from five divisions to six.

County Commissioners Bob Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler voted 3-0 Monday to approve the move, which Kagay said would enable his office to effectively prosecute all criminal cases assigned to the new criminal division.

"That's why we set contingency funds aside, is to have money when extraordinary and unforeseen things happen," Archer said.

Kagay worked with the county's finance team to arrange to cover additional costs resulting from the move, Archer said.

Buhler said she appreciated that Kagay met individually with commissioners when -- after they voted Aug. 17 to approve the 2018 budget for Shawnee County, including the district attorney's office -- Kagay learned the court planned to switch one division from civil to criminal.

"The additional staffing needs were unforeseen because the district attorney's office was not notified of the court's intent until after the 2018 (county) budget approval," Kagay told commissioners in an Oct. 25 memo. "The new division is expected to begin with the appointment of the next district court judge."

Kagay told commissioners Monday it costs his office $250,000 to staff a division. He indicated he intended to cover that in the new criminal division using $50,000 commissioners added to his budget in August plus the $200,000 in funding approved Monday.

The district attorney's office's costs to staff each division include roughly $125,000 to cover the salary and benefits of a senior prosecutor and about $75,000 to cover the salary and benefits of a junior prosecutor, Kagay said.

Commissioners on Monday also heard from public works and solid waste department director Tom Vlach about an award Shawnee County received for its Willard Bridge replacement project, which is nearing completion, at last week's Kansas Association of Counties conference. …

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