EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The Menominee County prosecuting attorney’s workload is a potential “B-word.”

The B-word, in this case, is “backlog.”

County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Rogg spoke with the Menominee County Board of Commissioners, Tuesday, about the increasing workload his office has seen since attorney assistant Mitch McFee left for another job in early March.

Rogg requested the county board to authorize the hiring of retired-Dickinson County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Downing to help his office, part-time temporarily. This would prevent the increasing workload from turning into a backlog.

“The work continues to increase (since McFee left), I have 12 police reports from the city alone, Monday,” Rogg said. “I’m trying to keep calm, but it’s almost impossible.”

Rogg said himself and Menominee County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gerald Karafa can handle the court obligations of the office, but he has little time to review police reports and determine charges.

“I’m in a circumstance, close to the one I was in a few years ago when you (the county board) authorized an expenditure for me to hire Carl Downing, the retired prosecuting attorney from Dickinson County.”

Rogg explained that Downing is willing aid Menominee County on an hourly basis at a rate of $70/hour. This is less than his previous rate of $75/hour, Rogg added.

The county would use money the county is saving from not paying McFee his wages to pay for Downing’s help. Menominee County Administrator Jason Carviou calculated the county can afford approximately 260 hours of work at a rate of $75/hour.

Commissioner Bill Cech said the previous time Downing had worked for Menominee County, he had actually completed the work much sooner than expected, which saved the county several thousand dollars.

“I hope Carl can help me attack this—I hate to use the B-word— backlog,” Rogg said. “It’s a potential backlog. Right now, it’s sitting on my desk, piling up but it has the possibility to grow into a the problem we had several years ago, when I first took office.”

The “problem” Rogg refers is a backlog of cases that Downing had helped the prosecuting attorney’s office cut down, when he was previously hired by Menominee County. Former sheriff Kenny Marks had estimated the caseload would take three years to get to through, but Downing had helped Rogg work through it in a matter of months.

“He’s a really good, responsible man himself,” Rogg said. “He doesn’t need any training, I can just give him a pile of police reports and he would do them just as I would.”

If the county hires Downing, it would be a temporary solution until Rogg fills the open position in his office. He said he is already advertising it and has already received a resume from a potential candidate. The candidate is still in law school and will not be available until November.

“It’s hard to attract people to prosecutor offices, generally,” Rogg said. He said several prosecuting attorneys from around the state are also having a difficult time hiring for their offices.

The county will vote on the matter at its next meeting, May 11.

In other business, the board voted to:

  • Approve offering a $0.15 per gallon discount on purchases of 100 LL, up to 100 gallons, at the Menominee Regional Airport during EAA AirVenture 2021.
  • Appointed Megan Boddy to the Menominee County Planning Commission.
  • Approved of the purchase of a full-page ad in the 2021/2022 Menominee, Marinette Regional Guide