16th Judicial District announces furloughs of 38% of employees from COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

Iberia Courthouse 16th Judicial District

NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — District Attorney Bo Duhe of the 16th Judicial District announced a 38% reduction in staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in a press release today (May 15).

Duhe stated that 38% of the staff translates to 45 of 117 staff members across all three parishes represented — Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary. The furloughs are directly related to financial shortfalls due to the virus.

“We, like other businesses in our community, must operate within our means,” said Duhe. “The DA’s office is a service organization. Salaraies of employees comrpise the vast majority of the overall expenses. Therefore, unfortunately that means the only meaningful way to cut costs is by reducing staff.”

Duhe said a significant portion of the DA’s funding is from self-generated funds related to court costs, fees, and fines, including traffic citations. The virus pandemic has resulted in limited court functions and minimal traffic enforcement while officers “rightfully handle(d) more pressing matters…”

“Hopefully, this action is temporaryand many of these employees can return to work when revenues return to pre-pandemic levels or significant federal, state, or parish funding becomes available,” said Duhe.

Duhe said he hopes the situation provokes a meaningful discussion on how the criminal justice system is currently funded, noting, “Such a crucial debate is long overdue.”

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