DIXON – Citing an increased caseload, Lee County State’s Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller plans to hire another prosecutor.
The $50,000-a-year position is already in the state’s attorney’s budget – at the request of her predecessor, Henry Dixon.
Dixon also got permission for another clerical position in his office.
In September, the County Board unanimously voted to grant Dixon’s request to fund the two extra positions. But he didn’t get a chance to hire anyone before losing to Sacco-Miller in the November election.
Upon taking office in December, she expressed no interest in filling the positions.
Earlier this year, County Board Chairman Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, said he and Sacco-Miller agreed that she would seek the board’s approval to fill either of the positions.
At Tuesday’s board meeting, she told the board that her office has had two more homicide cases since she took office.
The state’s attorney’s office just filed its 149th felony of the year, Sacco-Miller said. In 2012, the office didn’t reach that point until mid-August.
She still has no plan to fill the clerical position, which is budgeted at $25,000.
The board unanimously approved Sacco-Miller’s request.
In an interview Tuesday, Sacco-Miller said she could technically have filled the position without board approval because the money already was in her budget. But she said it was important to work with the County Board to make sure she got funding for the position next year.
She said she already has conducted interviews and selected someone for the job. Now that she has approval, the new hire will start in July. That person will join a staff with three full-time prosecutors and one part-timer.
When the board approved the extra positions last year, there was a catch: The funding would last only 2 years.
No one mentioned that limit at Tuesday’s meeting.
In March, the County Board voted to allow the Sheriff’s Department to hire another deputy. At the time, Ketchum said that the money would come from a contingency fund but that the county would offset it with the money saved from the unfilled positions in the office of state’s attorney.
Starting next year, the county is expected to lose $1 million a year in landfill revenue. Despite that prospect, it has been increasing spending since last fall.