Floyd County Commissioners plan to consider in January a boost to the local supplement paid on top of the state salaries in the district attorney's office.
"Caseload-wise, we're off the charts," County Manager Jamie McCord told the board. "They have the biggest caseloads in the state."
The Georgia General Assembly sets minimum salaries for elected county officials and certain non-elected officers, usually based on population. Most counties add local supplements to make the pay more competitive.
District Attorney Leigh Patterson's request for an increase notes that Floyd County's supplement for assistant district attorneys, set at $8,200 each, has seen little change in more than a decade. It's now below most comparable judicial circuits.
Her own supplement also has fallen below the supplement for the superior court judges, and she wants to be able to pay her chief ADA more.
"I definitely think we need to do something," Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace said. "We'll look at our options and talk about it after the first of the year."
The funding request came too late to be included in the 2019 budget the board adopted last week, but officials said they realize Patterson is losing potential staffers to circuits offering higher county supplements.
"She's trying to hire bar-certified attorneys and (base pay of) $45,000 to $50,000 is not real attractive," McCord said.
Patterson gets a $13,135 local supplement added to her base pay of $120,072. However, the local supplement for Floyd County superior court judges was increased to $24,000 — on top of the state base rate of $126,265 — and she's seeking the same level.
Supplements are $30,000 in the Paulding circuit; $18,500 for the DA in the Tallapoosa circuit covering Polk and Haralson counties; and about $25,000 in the Blue Ridge circuit, which also has a solicitor's office that handles misdemeanor cases.
"We handle misdemeanors and felonies — from investigation to arrest to appeals. My office also handles Probate Court trials so the County does not have to pay another attorney," Patterson wrote in her request.
She's also asking for her chief ADA, Martha Jacobs, to get 80 percent of the DA supplement instead of the same as other ADAs. And she wants an increase to $12,000 for her ADAs, rising to $15,000 after five years of service.
"I feel that we should at least be keeping pace with the Cherokee Circuit ... as it is one of our closest neighboring counties," Patterson wrote.
The Cherokee Circuit covers Bartow and Gordon counties. ADA supplements range from $11,700 to $16,200. Judges get $32,300 and the DA gets $18,000, according to a comparison compiled by Patterson's office.
She's also requesting an increase to $6,000 from the local supplement of $2,692 paid to her office manager who handles all the paperwork and supervises seven clerks.
McCord said it would cost another $87,000 to implement Patterson's full request in 2019. Other options would be to gradually phase in all or part of the increases.
"It's been fairly stagnant since 2008," he said. "When we do (cost-of-living adjustments), they got that, but no merit raises," he said.