Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill is seeking an unprecedented 23 percent pay increase and funding for dozens of additional attorneys and support staffers, says the Dallas Morning News. The 42 new positions he’s requesting – including 22 full-time attorneys – and the pay hike would require an additional $7.6 million. Hill predicted a “crisis” if he didn’t get help.
Several recent studies, including an informal survey by the Morning News this year, have shown that the Dallas County district attorney’s office is among the most overworked and underpaid in the nation. Hill said decades of funding neglect by the commissioners has placed his 204-attorney office at the “breaking point.” Many prosecutors are paying off large student loans and are easily lured away by higher-paying jobs, leading to continual turnover just as prosecutors gain experience. “At the rate we’re going, we’re 10 years behind where we need to be,” he said. A special prosecutor’s report on a scandal involving fake drugs found that prosecutors’ high workloads was a major reason the office was slow to discover and react to the case.