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  • Last modified 12 days ago (June 5, 2024)

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Give our prosecutor what he wants

Again this year, filing deadline has come and gone without anyone filing for county attorney.

Since moving here from the Salina public defender’s office in 2019, county attorney Joel Ensey has failed to appear on the ballot twice.

Four years ago, he submitted a flawed nominating petition — not exactly a bellringer for someone who is supposed to be the county’s legal expert.

This year, after seeing his pay rise from $44,709 in 2019, he has threatened not to run for re-election unless his pay is raised from $75,000 to $115,000.

A week ago, commissioners gave in and agreed to raise his pay to between $94,750 and $98,568. But this wasn’t enough to get Ensey to file.

Most of us would be elated to see our pay double over the course of five years. But not him. He thinks he has the upper hand and he’s going to use it to insist on the windfall salary increase he wants.

Marion County is home to just three other licensed attorneys, and none wants the job. Susan Robson already is a judge. Retired judge Mike Powers would have to give up being Marion’s mayor. Former legislator Bob Brookens would have to further delay his hoped-for retirement.

So Ensey is resorting to political hardball or, in keeping with his job as prosecutor, what might better be known by a legal term: extortion.

Clearly, he doesn’t want the job of Marion County attorney as it exists. Let’s not saddle him with it by writing his name in on our ballots. Any attorney from any adjoining county, or one willing to relocate here might snap at his nearly $100,000-a-year job, answerable to no one but voters.

If we can’t identify a specific candidate by the time of the August primary, perhaps we should write in Powers or Brookens, even though we know they won’t take the job, just to end the extortion and make sure Ensey isn’t able to bully his way into the massive raise he wants.

He appears to want out. Let’s give him what he wants.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified June 5, 2024

 

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