Seeking to capitalize on his lawyers' role in the O.J Simpson trial, Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti argued before the Board of Supervisors Thursday that county prosecutors such as Marcia Clark and Christopher A. Darden deserve a pay raise.
Using the long hours put in by Clark and Darden as examples, Garcetti proposed that all prosecutors receive a pay hike of between 2.2% and 11%, effective July 1.
"A lot has been made out of the fact that supposedly our very best trial lawyers are making about $45 an hour while a private attorney like (Simpson defense lawyer) Johnnie Cochran is making $650 an hour," said Garcetti. "What sticks in the craw of so many is that we're never going to make that kind of money, but we should make decent money."
Garcetti told the board that his prosecutors have not received a raise in three years and noted that his top attorneys, who make about $97,000 annually, are underpaid compared to top lawyers in the county counsel's office, who pull in about $105,000.
He said the salary increases could be funded from about $5.6 million that his office has set aside from drug forfeiture cases.
Several supervisors expressed sympathy for Garcetti's position, but the board put off a decision for a week while it gathers more information.
Citing the county's fiscal crisis and projected 1995-96 fiscal year deficit of as much as $1.3 billion, Chief Administrative Officer Sally Reed has recommended against the pay hikes.