Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked the county commissioners Thursday to increase his 2017 budget by $268,000 for pay raises for his prosecutors.
His plea came at the first of two public hearings on the proposed $410 million spending plan. The three-member commissioners' board is scheduled to vote on a budget Dec. 15.
"I have lost a number of people and will continue to lose people," said Steele, who was elected district attorney in 2015. His office has had a busy year, with high profile cases against Bill Cosby and Kathleen Kane.
Steele, who worked for years as first assistant district attorney under his predecessor Risa Vetri Ferman, said his office is not only about 30 staffers smaller than comparative prosecutors' offices, but that his assistant DAs are very underpaid.
Even with the additional money for pay raises, Steele said "this doesn't even get me to where the other local DA's offices are."
There are 155 employees in the Montgomery County District Attorney's office, according to payroll records provided to NBC10.com. The records were obtained through a right-to-know request.
Of those 155 employees, 51 are attorneys, 41 are county detectives and the rest are administrative staff and investigators.
Prosecutors make an average of $55,147. The highest paid is First Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann, with a salary of $105,000. The lowest paid assistant DAs earn $41,176 in salary.
County detectives average $106,304. They also make an average of $10,700 in overtime.
Prosecutors are not eligible for overtime pay.
In a recent interview, Steele said he has long advocated for increased pay for his assistant district attorneys.
"I'll continue to go to bat for my staff," Steele said. "They are incredibly talented and incredibly hard-working."
A spokeswoman for the county commissioners did not respond to an email asking if Steele's request for additional funding would be considered. Commissioners Val Arkoosh, Joe Gale and Josh Shapiro did not publicly address Steele's request.
The current budget proposal already includes more than $1 million in additional funding for the District Attorney's office. Funding would increase from $15.4 million to $16.5 million if the budget is approved.