• Last modified 24 days ago (May 2, 2024)


Prosecutor wants 53% pay raise

Staff writer

County attorney Joel Ensey told commissioners Tuesday that he wants a $40,000 raise.

Ensey’s proposed pay increase would be 53% of his current salary of $75,000 a year.

Ensey passed commissioners a list of county prosecutor job openings posted on Kansas County and District Attorneys Association’s website. All the counties he included have higher populations than Marion County.

Counties and their populations on Ensey’s list include:

  • Atchison — 16,108.
  • Barton — 25,080.
  • Crawford — 39,078.
  • Dickinson — 18,440.
  • McPherson — 30,012.
  • Lyon — 31,898.
  • Shawnee — 177,480.
  • Sumner — 22,473.
  • Wyandotte —165,746.

He said salaries offered in those counties were $100,000 or more.

“I don’t know that you’re going to find a county attorney for $75,000,” he said.

Ensey has not filed for re-election.

The counties with populations closest to Marion County are Allen County, population 12,554, and Nemaha County, population 10,219. Allen County attorney Jerry Hathaway is paid $93,189. Nemaha County attorney Brad Lippert is paid $78,217.

Ensey told commissioners he is on call 24 hours a day every week and had 450 criminal cases and 800 traffic cases.

According to District Court Clerk Jan Helmer, however, 154 criminal cases and 671 traffic cases were filed in 2023.

Commission Chairman David Mueller asked Ensey how often he had recused himself from a case and appointed a special prosecutor. Ensey answered once or twice a year.

Mueller asked Ensey to take a summary to county administrator Tina Spencer so his request could be discussed at next week’s meeting.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he questioned how many other elected officials would ask for raises if Ensey received one.

Ensey was the subject of complaints to the office of the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator after an Aug. 11 raid on the office of Marion County Record and the homes of its owners and city councilman Ruth Herbel.

The disciplinary office dismissed the complaint Dec. 13 on the grounds that it did not contain enough factual detail to show Ensey had violated state rules of professional conduct.

It stated that, although many county attorneys read warrant applications before sending them to a judge, they are not required to do so.

In interviews, Ensey said he hadn’t thoroughly reviewed a warrant application in the case until withdrawing it as insufficient five days later.

Last modified May 2, 2024