The Idaho Attorney General’s office is having increasing trouble recruiting and retaining attorneys, because its salaries are 27 percent lower than those in the Ada County prosecutor’s office and 45 percent below private-sector market rates in the Boise area. “We have a number of very dedicated people, people dedicated to public service, but we are having a problem trying to recruit and retain people,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden told JFAC this morning. He’s requesting a half-million-dollar ongoing boost in his budget to address that parity issue in pay, though Gov. Butch Otter hasn’t recommended funding that. Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, said, “It something I think we’re going to have to address.” Bolz said he’s been hearing complaints from agency heads about valued deputy attorneys general leaving because of pay.
Wasden said he’s lost three attorneys in the past month, each with five to 10 years experience. Each received at least a 40 percent pay increase by leaving. “One of the attorneys doubled his salary the day he left my office,” Wasden said. “The reality is my office has become a training ground for the attorneys who turn around and sue us.” The office has seen two-thirds turnover since 2001, he said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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