Assistant Dane County District Attorney Tim Kiefer is leaving his job next month to open his own criminal defense practice, in downtown Madison. Credit for this act of job creation goes to Gov. Scott Walker.
"The events at the state Capitol in recent months...were the deciding factor in my decision to leave state employment," Kiefer, an assistant district attorney since early 2007, wrote in an email (PDF) to his soon-to-be-former colleagues. "The present time is one of great uncertainty and stress for Wisconsin prosecutors.
"We were all recently threatened with being reduced to 80% part-time prosecutors. Our take-home pay is being cut due to unpaid furloughs and increases in health insurance premiums and retirement contributions. Several of the new attorneys in our office do not even have health insurance coverage. Pay progression has once again been rejected. Our union may soon cease to exist for all practical purposes."
Kiefer, who mounted bids for state Assembly and the job of Dane County DA, says prosecutors are already leaving due to these developments, continuing a trend of high turnover.
"Of my 33 attorney colleagues in this office, just 19 were working here when I started four and one-half years ago," he wrote. "While new attorneys bring enthusiasm and dedication to their work, there is no substitute for experience when prosecuting serious crimes or untangling complex legal dilemmas."