Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Justice's Sake, da's Office Salaries Must Increase

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For Justice's Sake, da's Office Salaries Must Increase

Article excerpt

In January, I retired from the Allegheny County district attorney's office after 32 years of service, so I read Paula Reed Ward's article about turnover in that office with great interest (April 1, "DA's Office Seeing High Turnover").

The focus of contract negotiations for many years has been on raising the starting salary, which has stagnated since 2003. If starting salaries - $22,500 in 1985 - had kept pace with inflation, they would now be $53,102. Yet the county's response, even when the district attorney has advocated for an increase, has been that there are hundreds of applicants for every position so there is no need to offer more. Young lawyers, who often carry crippling debt loads of over $100,000, soon realize that they can't pay off their loans, buy a home or raise a family if they remain with the office.

The sad reality is that the office has become a training ground for civil firms, the defense bar and other governmental agencies offering better pay. Of the 24 lawyers who left since 2017, only three of us were "career prosecutors," and it does not seem that the new generation can afford to replace us.

The work of a county prosecutor is tremendously fulfilling. It should not require a person to hold a second job to get by. Victims - and all citizens of Allegheny County - deserve dedicated prosecutors who can afford to remain in the job long enough to develop the sophisticated analytical and advocacy skills necessary to assure that justice is served.


Forest Hills

The writer retired as a grievance officer in the district attorney's office and member of USW Local 3403, Unit 74.

Flawed rate report

The recent Forum piece by the mayor's blue-ribbon panel (March 11, "Privatization Is Not the Answer for PWSA") was correct in its assessment that Pittsburgh's dire water infrastructure situation has led to a lack of public trust. The piece also correctly notes that private water companies bring efficiency and flexibility to the cities they serve. …

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