Happy employees stay in their jobs. Of course, government lawyers make less money overall than private attorneys, but no one becomes a prosecutor or public defender for the money. They do it for the mission, and because they sacrifice some financial security for the greater good it is crucial that their leaders treat them with maturity and respect. Otherwise, they will walk, and rightly so.
Current Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall has stated on her website that, “The average annual attorney attrition rate in the County Attorney’s Office is 13.3%.” In the pages of the Arizona Daily Star on 2/16/16, Ms. LaWall told the people of Pima County that this attrition rate “has been consistent over decades. It has never been anywhere close to 40 percent.”
This is directly contradicted by the words of Ms. LaWall’s own Chief Deputy who, on April 7, 2015, testified to the Pima County Board of Supervisors that, “Over a two-year period recently that we calculated, of our felony prosecutors we lost 40%.”
Incidentally, the turnover rate for public defenders, who are on the same pay scale as county attorneys and who have to spend hours each week in jail with their clients, was 21% over the last two year period.