Wayne Co. prosecutor lashes out at Ficano in wake of layoffs - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Wayne Co. prosecutor lashes out at Ficano in wake of layoffs

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Wayne Co. prosecutor Kym Worthy Wayne Co. prosecutor Kym Worthy
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For the first time since announcing dozens of layoffs, the Wayne County prosecutor lashed out at Robert Ficano on Wednesday.  Kym Worthy is blaming the county executive for creating chaos in the courts.

"We cannot cover the misdemeanor dockets in 36th District Court," Worthy said at a news conference.

"Covering the misdemeanor domestic violence docket is a day to day call."

"We simply cannot cover the traffic docket."

"We cannot cover the PPO docket in circuit court."

When I stopped by traffic court, there were 17 cases the judge had to set for trial for summer, all cases that potentially could've been pled out and finished on this day if only there would have been a prosecutor in the courtroom.

Worthy's office is also backed up -- 40 warrants in homicide, 66 sexual assault warrants and 130 warrants in child abuse, where they are down from eight prosecutors to two-and-a-half.

"We're fearful every day that one of those people that's named in a warrant by the police may do something to harm another child," remarked Worthy.

Worthy said her office just cannot get to every case because on Friday she was forced to lay off 26 contractors, including 22 lawyers, three investigators and one support staffer.

Worthy said she has lost a quarter of her staff in all.  She is down 52 assistant prosecutors, including 30 vacancies since October.  She now has around 160 prosecutors for an office that handled more than 50,000 cases in 2011.  Many people have left because there is no future there.

"Our beginning APAs make $46,000 a year, that's all they make, $9,000 less than the driver Mr. Fiacno wanted," said Worthy.

As she took shots at Ficano, Worthy stood next to a monitor displaying unsavory headlines about the county executive, his questionable financial practices and legal troubles.

"I don't think it's personal.  I think it's a very good example of someone who has not been properly managed and trying to take it out on someone who has managed," she said.

"That's just plain not true," said Ficano.  "I hope it's not personal with her, but to us it's just numbers and facts."

Ficano said the county has lost $100 million since 2009.  The County Board of Commissioners approved a $25.3 million budget for the prosecutor's office, $9 million less than previously agreed to.

Ficano said the prosecutor's felony caseload has dropped almost 23 percent since 2007, and she has had weeks, if not months, to make adjustments.

"We wish there was more money.  We're committed to public safety, but at the same time these are the numbers that we've been dealt," he explained.

"The county, I believe, is in hard times, but I don't believe they have no money," said Worthy.  "They are not appropriating their money appropriately."

Worthy is suing.  The county has made an offer and is waiting for a response.

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