Cost of full-time Stoddard County prosecuting attorney to be in public notice

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- Paying a full-time prosecutor will cost Stoddard County about $65,000 per year, with benefits factored in, if voters decide next month to change the position from part time.

The Stoddard County Commission approved Monday adding information to the Nov. 6 election notice that will appear in the local newspaper informing the public about the cost of making the prosecuting attorney a full-time office.

Commissioner Frank Sifford made a motion at the Sept. 24 meeting to add the cost of the proposal to the public notice. It did not receive a second, and was tabled until the next meeting. Sifford believed the cost should have been placed on the ballot, but the ballots were already printed, he was told by County Clerk Joe Watson. The proposal will appear on the ballot as Prop. 1. It reads, "Shall the office of prosecuting attorney be made a full-time position? Yes or No."

Sifford said it was customary for a fiscal summation of the cost or income of a proposal to be included in the ballot language. Constitutional Amendment 3 and three state propositions all include a statement about expected costs or revenue from the proposal.

Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver was at the Sept. 24 meeting and told the commission he didn't think it was required to add the cost of the proposal to the public notice.

"The state doesn't say who has the authority to determine the wording," Oliver stated.

"In my opinion it [the ballot wording] doesn't inform the public in the manner that they should be informed," Sifford said. "They have no idea what the cost will be."

Sifford said adding together the increased salary and benefits made the cost of a full-time prosecutor around $65,000 per year.

Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis asked Watson where the public notice would appear. Watson said by statute it has to appear in a county publication for three consecutive weeks.

Sifford made a motion to add the language to the public notice.

Mathis asked Commissioner Carol Jarrell her opinion.

Jarrell responded, "I do agree that the people have a right to know."

She went on to say that the costs had previously appeared in an article in the Daily Statesman. There was other discussion before Mathis asked whether the presiding commissioner could second a motion. It was unclear, and there were differing views.

Mathis asked that the Missouri Association of Counties be contacted to see if the presiding commissioner can second a motion.

Pertinent address:

Bloomfield, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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