Former Del Norte County District Attorney Dale P. Trigg, who abruptly left that position in June 2017, citing pay issues, has been hired as assistant district attorney in Mendocino County.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors hired Trigg on Feb. 5. Mendocino County DA David Eyster called Trigg highly-qualified with well-rounded experience, and a track record of success.
Eyster called Trigg’s hiring a double benefit, saying he’s an experienced sexual assault prosecutor.
“That is a hard position to fill,” he said.
Eyster told the board that the salaries paid to the assistant are justified, as the cases are mentally taxing.
“The employment Mr. Trigg is willing to undertake here is different than what you’ll see in many other places,” Eyster said to the board. “He’s on call 24/7. He will be helping with search warrants... He will be providing spur-of-the-moment legal advice, he’s already been on trials in Mendocino County Courts and in some places, the district attorney and the assistant DA don’t do court work.”
Eyster said Trigg will have a full caseload and will also be mentoring young attorneys.
Eyster said Trigg’s base salary of $135,000 is about $800 higher than that of the former assistant district attorney. The board voted 4-1 to hire Trigg.
When he left Del Norte County in 2017, Trigg gave only a couple days’ notice before filing a letter with the county and leaving his position.
“The Assistant District Attorney (ADA) position remains the plum job in the DA’s Office as it is by far the highest paid and never answers to the voters for the difficult decisions that have to be made every day,” he wrote. “Currently, I make over $17,000 less than my ADA, who also gets over forty paid days off per year between vacation, holidays, illness and administrative leave. I have taken about half of that personal time away from the office in all three of my years combined. I will not earn what my ADA does today until January, 2023 if I am elected to a third term in office.”
Trigg said he had accepted an employment offer “that has a compensation package that better reflects my experience and ability and will appropriately reward my productivity and results.”
County CAO Jay Sarina explained that then-assistant district attorney Katherine Mick’s salary as a non-elected official had built up over time, resulting in a higher salary than Trigg’s, since she had been there much longer. When Micks moved to the district attorney position, she was able to keep her salary, but the new assistant DA was hired at about 30 percent less than she was making in the position, Sarina said.
According to transparentcalifornia.com, Trigg’s total pay and benefits came to just over $137,000 in 2016, while Micks’ total pay and benefits came to $153,000 that same year. Trigg’s new salary as assistant DA, with benefits, totals $203,000, according to the Mendocino County supervisors’ agenda.