County commission makes hiring freeze exception

The five-member St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday made an exception to its self-imposed hiring freeze and allowed prosecutor John McDonough to pursue employing an assistant prosecutor.

McDonough, who is in the midst of completing his 11th year as prosecutor, said funding for the position is in the department’s 2019 fiscal year budget.

The department’s prosecutor roster is currently comprised of McDonough, chief assistant Josh Robare and three Level 1 assistant prosecutors. If he is able to find a qualified candidate, McDonough said the department would add a person to help free up a backlog of cases.

With approval from commissioners to hire a new employee, McDonough said he will focus on an assistant prosecuting attorney Level 2, a position that typically goes to someone with extensive prosecuting experience or shows clear promise of becoming a savvy assistant prosecutor.

A Level 1 assistant prosecutor will typically hire into St. Joseph County at a rate around $50,000 a year, McDonough noted. He is hopeful that he can secure an assistant prosecuting attorney Level 2. The pay grade for the position is between $62,000 and $80,000, contingent on experience, McDonough noted.

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