LIMA — The election of Assistant Prosecutor Terri Kohlrieser to common pleas judge might cost the county an extra $30,000.
Judges Jeffrey Reed and David Cheney met with Allen County Commissioners to request $30,000 from the county in order to hire Kohlrieser as a magistrate in the prior five months before she officially begins her term as common pleas judge to avoid potential conflicts of interest due to her position in county prosecutor’s office.
The five-month period as magistrate would allow the county to move through the criminal cases that she may have indicted or investigated as assistant prosecutor without her involvement. Reed said the county performed a similar function for him when he was first elected in 1998.
As assistant prosecutor, Kohlrieser currently is paid a $71,000 salary. If she would take the leave of absence from her position, the county would then rehire her as a magistrate, but the funds would have to be reshuffled around to pay for the remainder of salary.
The court has roughly $30,000 earmarked for special projects. Reed said he’d be willing to remove $10,000 out of that budget to pay for a portion of the rest of Kohlrieser’s salary as a magistrate, and the county would have to make up the rest.
The other potential option would be to keep Kohlrieser as assistant county prosecutor up until 2019 and then hire a visiting judge to fill in while she acclimates to the position and the county moves through potential conflict of interest cases without her involvement. That move, however, Reed estimates will cost roughly twice the extra $30,000 amount needed by the courts to hire Kohlrieser as a magistrate.
“I think it will save money for the county in the long run,” Reed said.
Due to her responsibilities working with the grand jury Tuesday, Kohlrieser was not available to meet with commissioners.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.