One promise that McPherson County Attorney Torrance Parkins made as he was stumping for election to fill David Page's open position at the end of June was that he was going to make the County Attorney's position a full time one.
As word began to spread about the backlog the office was under, reportedly at a thousand cases that had not been filed, Parkins realized the importance of having a full-time staff to help with the case load.
“With two, part-time attorneys, we're not able to keep up with the current caseload and dig in to any existing cases that maybe need to be filed,” Parkins said after meeting with the McPherson County Commission.
Parkins made his pitch to the county commission Monday towards making the position full-time, noting that McPherson was the only county of comparable size without at least one full-time attorney on staff. Ellis County, which has only 300 less people as of 2014, had five full-time attorney's and nearly 200 more felony convictions.
McPherson County has had 113 felony convictions since Fiscal Year 2014, while Ellis had 311.
“Are we part time because of the lower numbers, or are the numbers lower because we're part time?” Parkins said. “I can't tell you that.”
The only county with a lower felony conviction rate was Miami County in northeast Kansas, where they had 66 in FY 2014. Miami County, which includes the city of Paola, has four full-time attorneys.
No action was taken during the meeting, as the commission wanted a little more research done before making the move. They did indicate they were open to making the move to a full-time county attorney, with Commissioner Linus Linaweaver, in particular, voicing his support of the move.
Parkins' proposal was for two or three full-time attorney's in addition to himself, with a full-time assistant.