ANDERSON – Within the past week three deputy prosecutors in the Madison County prosecutor’s office have announced their intention to leave.
Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Thursday that two deputy prosecutors are leaving by the end of the month and a third will terminate employment in his office on Dec. 31.
Madison County provides funding for 11 ½ deputy prosecutors and Cummings is seeking approval to hire two more deputies.
“We have lost eight deputy prosecutors since the first of the year,” he said. “They’re leaving for higher paying jobs with private law firms or going to other counties to work in the prosecutor’s office.
“It’s a public safety nightmare,” Cummings said. “I have been sounding this concern for several years.”
Cummings said his office is losing experienced deputies.
“We bring people in and they get experience and leave for more money,” he said.
Cummings asked the Madison County Council to establish a three-tier pay scale in the 2022 budget. The request was denied.
That would have paid a deputy prosecutor a salary of $80,000.
Chief Deputy Andrew Hanna said the deputy prosecutors will receive a possible 3% salary increase next year, the same as other county employees.
“If we could pay enough, people would stay because they like the job and take care of their families,” he said.
Hanna said the county has never been able to compete with the private sector, but now is unable to compete with other counties when it comes to pay.
The salary for a deputy prosecutor is currently $66,000 per year.
“That’s a good salary for Anderson,” Cummings said. “But we are competing with the entire region which includes Hamilton and Marion counties.”
There are four deputy prosecutors who reside in Madison County, he said.
“They’re going to where they can make more money,” Cummings said of the departing deputies. “There are 10 members of the Anderson Police Department that are making more money than our deputies.”
He said his office has received two resumes from attorneys to join his office. He said one has experience and the other graduated from law school.
“It’s a non-stop issue,” Cummings said.
Currently there are four attorneys in the office, including Cummings and Hanna, that can handle major felony cases.
“It puts an unbelievable strain on the office,” he said. “It’s impossible to prepare for the trials.”