MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved administrative overtime for the prosecuting attorney’s office, while its staff continues to work on the backlog.

The county board approved the hiring of a contract lawyer July 9 to assist the prosecuting attorney’s office with its then backlog of more than 500 cases.

Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Rogg said Tuesday the contract lawyer hired, Carl Downing, Iron Mountain, has completed his work in less time than initially estimated.

Downing’s work only cost the county $4,162.50 of the allocated $20,000. Rogg requested using some of the left over money budgeted to pay for administrative overtime so that his staff can finish off the paperwork needed for each backlog case over the course of several weekends.

Downing has left Rogg written recommendations on each of the files as to whether charges should be filed or not, Rogg said. Charges will not be issued for most of the cases.

However, Rogg explained that regardless if a warrant is issued or denied the legal secretaries in the prosecuting attorney’s office — Molly McCrae and Dana Cole — will have paperwork on each of the backlog files they must complete.

“I have about three boxes of these old police reports — that is the ‘backlog’ — that I still need to go through. I have a sheet I fill out with the necessary information and I give the file to the ladies in my department so they can do their work and give the file back to the police stations,” Rogg said.

The extra work needed to do by his staff must be completed on top of their day-to-day tasks.

On top of this, Rogg said his staff’s workload is already tighter than it has been in the past because District Judge Robert J. Jamo requires the prosecuting attorney’s office to do a more paperwork for each case than his predecessor Judge Jeffrey Barstow did.

“He has different requirement than Judge Barstow had that results in extra paperwork in our office,” Rogg explained. “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s probably appropriate we do things that way but it does create extra work.”

He explained that when a plea agreement led to a reduction in charges, Barstow would leave a note on the file to reflect the changes in charges whereas Jamo wants the prosecuting office to prepare an amended complaint, which requires more computer work.

Rogg further explained that the new requirement is nothing “out of the ordinary” it is simply Jamo trying to ensure everything is done by the books.

“The problem from a purely time management standpoint is that we basically have to handle the file a second time,” Rogg said.

Rogg requested up to five days of overtime for the two legal secretaries, who have both agreed to come into the office on the weekends to finish up the backlog files. 

Commissioner Larry Schei asked what would happen if the county board does not approve the overtime hours for Cole and McCrae. 

Rogg said the backlog would not be completed by the end of the year, which is his goal.

“In addition to rest of their work, they will also have to fit these big boxes in (during their work week). I was hoping to have this resolved by the end of the year but it won’t be if they can’t come in on a couple of Saturdays over the next couple of weeks,” Rogg said.

He said he would not be coming to the county board to request more overtime after the backlog is completed.

This issue, which was originally a discussion item on the agenda, was moved forward as an action item Tuesday. It then passed unanimously with a 7-0 roll call vote. Commissioners Larry Johnson Jr. and David Prestin were not present at the meeting.

The board approved $2,500, which is enough to pay for three full days of overtime for the two staff members.