Fairhope, AL (WKRG)
Baldwin County’s incoming district attorney is making some tough choices. Retired Judge Robert Wilters informed a majority of the staff Friday that they would be let go by mid-January.
“This is not fun, I did not want to do this,” said Wilters. He said he’s only retaining 20 of the 44 staff members who currently work under DA Hallie Dixon. Wilters said the decision was in part due to budget cuts. He said the DA’s office has seen a more than 51% reduction in state funding since 2008.
“We’ve had a considerable amount of money that’s been cut in the last few years, and hopefully we won’t have to make any more budget cuts,” said Wilters. Transitions like this can be expected. When a new elected official comes in, it is common to expect some staffers to be let go. If Wilters makes the hires he’s planning, including some new attorneys, investigators and support staff, the DA’s office will still have a net loss of roughly ten people.
“We’re going to have fewer people doing a lot of work, we’re going to have people that have to really hustle and we’re going to have additional trained staff, so it will be tough but we’ll make things work out,” said Wilters. Outgoing employees last day will be January 16th. The new DA’s first term begins the day after that.
Judge Wilters also thanked Hallie Dixon for help with the transition. Dixon’s time as DA in Baldwin County has been marked by personal turmoil that’s sometimes overshadowed her crime fighting. In 2014 a former investigator filed a sexual harassment claim against her. In 2015 Dixon’s daughter was arrested on theft charges. In an unrelated case also that year Dixon was fined by the city of Daphne for loud dogs at her home. A year ago she announced she would not seek another term in office.