(District Attorney weighs in on labor dispute)….The County Deputy District Attorney Association members went on strike earlier this week.

The D.A. Gilbert Otero has sent a letter to the Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors Ryan Kelley. Otero says he understands that Departments do not get involved in labor negotiations, however he feels as a department head, especially one who is elected, he feels he has a fiduciary duty to do everything in his power to ensure his department has the adequate resources, personnel included, to function as mandated by law. Otero says over the past 3 fiscal years his office has had salary savings averaging $260,000. He says this fiscal year, which ends June 30th, they estimate revenue, which goes to the general fund is $2,023,274. The D.A. says this revenue is from sources that he has sought and secured so his office can provide necessary services to protect the citizens of Imperial County. He said the figure amounts to about 36% of his department’s yearly budget. He says the combined yearly salary of his attorneys is $2,488,830. Otero says if the county would consider a 10% salary increase to each attorney in his office, then his department’s yearly budget for attorney salaries and benefits would be $2,737,712. The increase of $250,000 is below the average salary savings his office has realized the past 3 years. Approving this increase, he says there still would be no additional cost to the county. Otero says he could make it happen by utilizing his salary savings and/or not filling a deputy district attorney and a legal office assistant position.