Public sector attorney wages – a comparison


After reading a Gazette story about the Linn County Compensation Board’s recommendations, a local attorney said to me, “I bet the local public defender is not making that much money” in referring to the proposed wages for the Linn County Attorney.  Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the State Public Defender’s Office in Johnson County and wondered how much the State’s public defenders (attorneys) are paid.  So I gathered some facts relative to Linn County – see table below.

Do these wage disparities make any sense? Chief Judge Grady and District Judge Miller preside over trials in which County Attorney Van Sanden is the prosecuting attorney and Sissel is the defense attorney; yet, a $14K to $32K pay gap exists between our County Attorney, and the judges and public defender.  Is the County Attorney paid too much?  Or are the judges and public defenders paid too little?  If you have an opinion, contact the Linn County Board of Supervisors regarding the Linn County Attorneys and/or contact your legislator regarding the State employees.  Seems to me that these wages are out of whack! –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

Sources: Office of Linn County Auditor for County of Linn employees – click on hyperlinks for other sources.
Mark Cady Chief Justice of Iowa Supreme Court $178,538
Jerry Vander Sanden Linn County Attorney – elected $163,980
Patrick Grady Chief Judge of 6th Judicial District $149,226
Paul Miller District Court Judge – 6th District $143,897
N Maybanks & G Jarvis Assistant Linn County Attorneys $139,383
Brian Sissel Public Defender Supervisor – Linn County $131,592
Tom Miller Attorney General of Iowa – elected $123,669
T Johnson Public Defender 3 – Linn County $111,821
B Belcher Assistant Linn County Attorney $105,814
N Tucker Public Defender 2 – Linn County $93,517
D Davis Public Defender 2 – Linn County $67,041
A Dollash Public Defender 2 – Linn County $64,578
FY16 starting wage Prosecutor 1 – Linn County $63,742
K Frank Public Defender 1 – Linn County $38,730
D Grinde Public Defender 1 – Linn County $27,696
Key: County of Linn employees 1/1/2015 – 12/31/2015 wages; State of Iowa employees 7/1/2014 – 6/30/2015 wages
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