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D.A. Unveils Plan to Streamline Management Staff


Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury unveiled a plan Wednesday that would streamline his management staff but give several top officials hefty pay raises.

Bradbury said the consolidation plan, to be considered next week by the Board of Supervisors, shaves $330,000 from his budget and allows him to better manage his 600 employees.

"Not only will this make us more efficient . . . but it will save the county money," the district attorney said.

The current management structure is a relic from the days when the prosecutor's office employed two dozen people, Bradbury said.

"We've been operating with a kind of horse-and-buggy operational structure," he said.

Under the new plan, Bradbury would be assisted by a single top aide--instead of the two he has now--and by five other senior-level executives.

Most of these people would get raises. Chief deputy Kevin J. McGee, for instance, would receive a raise of about $7,000, pushing his salary as high as $96,000. At least four others would get substantial, but undisclosed, increases as they are promoted. Bradbury refused to name those who would get raises, or to reveal their salaries.

Bradbury said the office would still save money because five other positions would be eliminated.

He compared the consolidations to similar reorganizations of the Sheriff's Department and the courts administrative staff within the past year.

As when such changes were implemented by the courts, other local officials applauded. But the president of one lawyer group criticized the raises it would bring to the handful of administrators.

"The timing could not be worse as far as office morale among the troops is concerned," said Douglas W. Daily, president of the county's public defender's association.

"When we see the upper echelon sort of distance themselves and getting pay raises, it makes us feel that once again the county is rewarding managers and at the same time the people who actually run the cases in the courtroom are being pushed down," Daily added.

Bradbury's announcement follows a recent controversy over how public lawyers are paid in the county.

On Monday, county officials revoked merit raises to 25 junior-level public defenders and deputy prosecutors, essentially saying the county is in bad financial shape and cannot afford to give them raises for last year.

Attorneys in both the prosecutor's and the public defender's offices have commissioned a study comparing their salaries with those of colleagues statewide. The lawyers contend they are being paid about 20% less than other public attorneys.

The vice president of the local district attorney's association, however, said he is happy to see Bradbury proposing raises for his top managers. Kevin G. DeNoce said he just wishes the county would reward line prosecutors with a similar pay hike.

Most prosecutors now earn between $32,000 and $69,000.

"The county is demoralizing the prosecutors in this office," DeNoce said. "The way the Board of Supervisors has allowed the personnel office to handle salaries is totally incompetent."

Supervisor Vickie Howard said she will support Bradbury's reorganization because it saves money, even with the five pay raises. "I'm very much in favor of cutting government whenever we can do so," Howard said.

She declined to comment on complaints by line prosecutors and public defenders until she sees the results of the parity study, expected to be completed by the end of next month.

Public Defender Kenneth I. Clayman also said he supports the raises Bradbury is handing out, though he said he would like the Board of Supervisors to allow him to give raises to his two top assistants as well.

Of the five positions Bradbury would cut, one is now held by Assistant Dist. Atty. Colleen Toy White, who has been elected to the Superior Court.

Also, Bradbury said his office is adding two powerful computers that will make crime-fighting easier, because they will allow his office to better link up with other agencies.

"These are two systems that will take us into the 21st Century in good shape," Bradbury said.

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