The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office had to make cuts in its 2009 budget that resulted in the elimination of six positions. 

Officials were able to offer other positions to five of the six people at those jobs. Some of the offered positions will be at a significantly reduced salary from their previous job, Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said.

The victims services unit, which works with victims and families of violent crime during the criminal court process, appears to be most impacted by the reductions.

The office has 10 positions in the victims services unit. Two of those 10 had to be eliminated, Kanatzar said.

“We have eight victim advocates and I’m confident we are still going to be able to provide the level of services the people of Jackson County deserve as it pertains to victims advocates,” Kanatzar said.

“These are tough times. I had to look at positions that I felt like other people in management and administration could assume those positions’ responsibilities, and the director position was one of them. So other people are going to assume those responsibilities.”

The responsibilities of the director of victims services includes administrative duties like handing time sheets and grants that partially fund victim advocates.

The director also handles cases for victims and families of crimes.

The chief trial assistants will take on the role of supervising victim advocates, as opposed to having the director provide those services, he said.

The office’s public information officer position had to be cut, as well. Kanatzar’s executive assistant will assume those duties.

Another eliminated position was the director of the office’s drug court unit. The office had to make drastic cuts in non-salary line items in its general fund.

“I hope we can get through the year with what we cut,” Kanatzar said.

In regards to whether budget cuts will affect the level of prosecution of cases, from the beginning to end of cases, Kanatzar did not think it would.

“We’re all going to have to do more with less. I feel like my staff is up to that task.”

 Kanatzar said the office’s case load numbers for next year are unclear, but he doesn’t suspect it will go down, he said. “It’s a matter of how high it will go up as to how much it’s going to impact our ability to dispose of cases in a timely fashion.”