16th Judicial District Attorney Announces Furloughs as a Result of COVID-19 Impact on Revenue, Staff to be Reduced by 38%
New lberia, May 15, 2020: l6th Judicial District Attorney Bo Duhe has announced a 38% reduction in staff as a result of projected revenue shortfalls due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 38% is 45 of the 117 staff members. The reduction includes employees in all three (lberia. St. Martin end St. Mary) parishes comprising the 16th Judicial District. Duhe said the implementation of these measures became necessary to ensure the continued financial stability of the District Attorney’s Office and was made in the best interest of the Office and the public that it serves.
Duhe said a significant portion of the District Attorney’s funding is from self-generated funds related to court costs, lines and fees, including traffic citations. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in very limited court functions and minimal traffic enforcement to allow our law enforcement officers to rightfully handle more pressing matters and protect their personal safety by practicing social distancing.
‘We, like other businesses in our community, must operate within our means. The DA’s office is a service
organization. Salaries of employees comprise the vast majority of the overall expenses. Therefore, unfortunately that means the only meaningful way to cut costs is is by reducing staff. These hard-working public seryants are dedicated to the organization’s mission to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of lberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes. Hopefully, this action is temporary and many of these employees can return to work when revenues return to pre-pandemic levels or significant federal, state or parish funding becomes available. Until such time as that occurs, it will be necessary for the remaining staff members to take on additional tasks in an effort to continue to fulfill the constitutional and statutory duties and responsibilities of the office during these difficult times.” Duhe said.
‘lt is my sincere hope that this pandemic and the resulting fiscal crisis will provoke a meaningful discussion about how the criminal justice system is presently funded and the need to establish a more stable funding source for public safety” said Duhe’. “Such a crucial debate is long overdue. We simply cannot allow these events to deliver such a debilitating fiscal blow to the proper functioning of the public safety network.