Voter turnout was weak, but the voice was strong in pushing through the county's proposal for making the part-time office of elected prosecuting attorney a full-time position.
Voter turnout was weak, but the voice was strong in pushing through the county’s proposal for making the part-time office of elected prosecuting attorney a full-time position. The proposal passed with a 75 percent approval rating. Of the 937 votes cast on the countywide ballot question, there were 700 “Yes” votes and 237 “No” votes. Tuesday’s election saw just a 10 percent voter turnout. Adam Warren, who is completing his second term as the county’s elected prosecuting attorney, filed for re-election on the opening day of the candidate filing period without the full-time question being determined. He currently maintains a private practice in addition to handling the county’s prosecutorial duties. Warren is the only candidate who filed for the office. The primary election is in August and the general election in November. “Mostly, it’s going to be about speed,” Warren told the Constitution-Tribune Tuesday evening at the courthouse while the final results were being posted in support of the full-time office. “We’ll get things filed faster; we’ll get things processed faster; we’ll get offers done faster,” Warren said. “It’s going to help me give more time to training some of these officers to go over new laws.” The prosecutor stated that this past year, a new criminal code was passed regarding every single criminal law, noting that the laws were recodified and some of them had changed. The statute requires a full-time prosecutor to do some officer training every year, he added. Warren also noted that there is a big push in the Supreme Court for pre-trial release that will require much prosecutor work starting Jan. 1, 2019. “Whenever someone is accused of a crime and not convicted, often the court assigns bond or bail to determine whether they will be held in custody until the time of trial or be released,” Warren stated. “The Supreme Court is trying to set up a matrix to make it a process that keeps dangerous people incarcerated but tries to keep less poor people incarcerated.” This initiative, he said, requires a lot of individual background checks from the prosecutors’ office. Livingston County Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas said that establishing the prosecutor’s office as a full-time position will be an investment in the county’s future. “A county our size with the way the world is, it’s an investment in making our county safer,” Douglas said. By making the office a full-time position, the salary will increase from its current $73,825 to $137,745 per year. The extra costs, Douglas projects, will be absorbed through the speed in which cases are handled. “We will keep leaning on him to make sure that we move the cases through as quick as we can,” Douglas said. “I believe that between lower conflict of interest costs, and keeping a lid on our jail costs it will pay for itself. Adam has done a good job at doing that, and I think that will continue. He has proven to us that if you work at it you can do a good job of keeping those costs down.” Douglas noted that the Missouri counties of DeKalb and Clinton will be putting the full-time prosecutor question on their ballots in the future. The absentee votes were posted shortly after 7 p.m. in the lobby of the courthouse which gave the full-time prosecuting attorney question a strong lead with 79 percent approval. The measure passed in all of the county’s precincts with the largest percentage margin in Wheeling Township with 84 percent. The smallest percentage margin was in the Jackson and Sampsel townships, with 61 percent approval. Township Road Districts: Two townships presented road district levy questions in Tuesday’s election. Sampsel Township’s proposal passed 11 votes to 8, and Cream Ridge Township’s proposal passed, 32 votes to 15 votes. Other elections throughout the county: City of Chula: John Graves received 18 votes for mayor and there was one write-in vote cast; Benny Simpson received 11 votes for Chula’s north ward alderman (two-year term); and there were two write-in votes for the north ward alderman, one-year term. There were four write-in votes for the Chula south ward alderman (2-year term) post. City of Wheeling: Denise Wayman received 16 votes for city clerk and there was one write-in vote cast; Brenda Warner received 8 votes for Wheeling’s West Ward councilperson.