State's attorney cuts budget
David Giuliani, email@example.com, 815-431-4041 Dec 29, 2016
La Salle County State's Attorney Karen Donnelly, who promised during her campaign to cut the state's attorney's office's budget by 20 percent, said Thursday she will follow through.
Donnelly reported to a County Board oversight committee she had no plans to fill a clerical position that recently went vacant. And she said she is replacing another position with someone who will make less money and perform different responsibilities.
"My job is to reduce the budget from the get-go," she said.
Donnelly took office Dec. 1 after having defeated longtime State's Attorney Brian Towne in the November election.
Along with Towne, his wife, Sarah Towne, also left after a long career as a clerical employee in the office. Donnelly said last month she wouldn't keep Sarah Towne because she could not be loyal, given the circumstances.
Donnelly said she has hired a new employee at $31,000. That is less than Sarah Towne's salary, listed at $36,000 in 2015, according to OpenTheBooks.com.
She said her office also would save about $4,000 by requiring prosecutors to pay their own annual dues with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
"Mr. Towne's practice was the county paid for it. My practice going forward is that each attorney will pay their own. I always paid it myself. It's a personal benefit," said Donnelly, who worked at an Ottawa law firm before her election.
'In tough straits'
Also at the committee meeting, members told Karen Miller, the county's new recorder, they may have to eliminate a position in her office because of budget shortfalls. That would especially be the case if the office sees less business from a time-share development in the northeastern part of the country, which typically generates a big workload, they said.
"We're going to be in tough straits," Chairman Randy Freeman, R-Lostant, said. "I know it's your first month on the job, but we need to really look closely at things."
The County Board, he said, may have to make similar requests to all officeholders.
Miller, who also started Dec. 1, said she was trying to save taxpayers' money. She said she was "sorry" that her predecessor, Tom Lyons, filled a position shortly before he left office after 18 years.
She said she asked him to hold off, but he believed he needed to hire someone. Lyons let Miller take part in interviews.
Miller said she wanted to fill a vacant office supervisor's position.
"I don't think there's anyone there who can be brought up with the qualifications to fill the job," Miller said.
She said she had a candidate in mind "who would bring a lot to the office."