June 5, 2013— Members of the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee (JFC) reconsidered their position regarding pay progression for government attorneys in a motion early Wednesday morning.
The Office of the Attorney General, the State Public Defender’s Office, District Attorneys, and State Bar advocates expressed their concerns to JFC members, after they passed a motion on May 21 that would have modified the governor’s proposed pay progression program to only include recently hired public defenders, ADAs and assistant attorneys general (AAGs), under step 3 of the state's pay scale.
Andrea Gage is public relations coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org agage wisbar wisbar agage org, or by phone at (608) 250-6025.
Now, in their most recent motion, JFC members are expanding pay progression to include all attorneys who have dedicated years of their careers to serving the government.
JFC also added deputy district attorneys to the list of lawyers eligible for pay progression, which includes assistant district attorneys (ADAs), assistant attorneys general, and public defenders.
By rewarding attorneys with increasing years of service, pay progression helps the government retain talented and experienced experts in the law.
Retention is a major concern in the field of government law. Between 2001 and 2007, more than 75 percent of the ADAs left their jobs. The most common reason for leaving was salary. A 2011 University of Wisconsin also study showed that ADAs are outpacing their fellow government colleagues, with turnover among ADAs averaging more than 18 percent since 2005, far greater than the 5 to 7 percent turnover among most public employees.
The State Bar Board of Governors reaffirmed its support for the pay progression proposal at its quarterly meeting in Sheboygan in February.