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A Message from the State Attorney

Photo: Katherine Fernandez Rundle Headshot 2

Katherine Fernandez Rundle
State Attorney

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Dear Friend,
 As we begin 2022, I personally am filled with excitement and a sense of hope for what this New Year will bring. Though for the past two years it may have felt that the world was on pause, we at your State Attorney’s Office have been hard at work. We have reviewed, updated and adapted our practices, taken advantage of new technologies to protect our community in a better, more efficient way, saving both time and money.

This week, I will be in Tallahassee to speak to our State Legislators to address a very important issue that impacts the work we do.
Our felony caseloads have skyrocketed due to the pandemic. As difficult as it would be for us to handle them during normal times, it is far more challenging now because our prosecutor and support staff vacancies are at an all-time high. We find ourselves unable to recruit or retain skilled prosecutors and staff due to disturbingly low pay, our uniquely high cost-of-living and housing market, and student loans that in some cases are over $120K.
Our ASAs and support staff make tremendous sacrifices to protect our community and exemplify what it means to be public servants. Our prosecutors, in particular, always have willingly foregone the much higher salaries they can get in private practice. However, today we are basically asking them to take a vow of poverty and pass up positions that offer them at least double the amounts we can afford to pay, and the impact has been devastating for recruiting and retention.
In the last 10 years, the number of individuals applying for positions as ASAs has plummeted from 1,831 to 335 while turnover is high. Last year alone, my office lost more than 80 prosecutors.
Additionally, we have close to 200 support staff vacancies and our remaining staff struggles to complete even the most critical tasks on time. Simply stated, starting salaries for all SAO team members need to be increased significantly.
We cannot have an effective criminal justice system if we cannot recruit or retain prosecutors and staff. Each and every member of our community, of YOUR community, depends on us for their safety and well-being.
Here I have included my Op-Ed pieces that were published in The Miami Herald and the Florida Bar News.
We urge you to reach out to your legislators today and ask them to provide us with the funds we need to protect our community, YOUR community.
Once again, I want to thank you for your continued partnership and support for the work that we do at the State Attorney’s office.
If you would like to know more about what we do for you, please visit our website and also follow us on social media.
Thank you and God Bless.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle
State Attorney

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