HERMISTON, Oregon – News that Umatilla County and its deputy district attorneys had reached an agreement on a three-year contract pleases Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston. He says law enforcement administrators from both Umatilla and Morrow counties have been concerned with what he calls the “significantly low wage” that is offered to the deputy DAs.
“The two counties have talked about this, and how critical it is to the overall criminal justice picture to make sure that District Attorney (Dan) Primus has adequate staff and is able to retain that staff,” Edmiston said.
Primus said that at the end of this month, his office will have three vacancies and one has been open since October. That means the workload has to be spread among the remaining lawyers in his office. Edmiston says an understaffed and underpaid district attorney’s office hurts law enforcement.
“With District Attorney Primus being down several bodies, that impacts all of us and is very significant to especially crime victims,” Edmiston said. “It’s nice to see it (the contract) finalized. I hope that it’s enough to retain people in Umatilla County, but I’m afraid it’s probably not going to be.”
The contract, which establishes salary steps, also includes a two percent cost of living increase each year. It’s retroactive to July 1, 2018.