Search begins for assistant county attorney

With assistant county attorney Chauncey Molding leaving at the end of the year to become the full-time Jefferson County Attorney, the Washington County Board of Supervisors Tuesday ended the 28E agreement with Keokuk County to share an assistant attorney.

At the request of county attorney John Gish, the supervisors voted unanimously to end the agreement as of Jan. 1, 2019. Gish explained the county has engaged in the sharing agreement for about three years. Effectively the assistant county attorney worked part time in each county. Gish said he had spoken with Keokuk County officials and felt they are in agreement the 28E should be ended.

“I am currently discussing an agreement with them that would make the position a Washington County employee,” Gish said. ‘We would still do some sharing for the short term and beginning the next fiscal year it is my intent to have a second full-time assistant county attorney.’

Gish said he would discuss the proposal with the supervisors further during budgeting for the coming fiscal year.

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. asked if the termination of a 28E agreement would require a six-month notice. Gish said according to the agreement if only one party wished to exit the agreement, six months’ notice would be required. With both sides mutually agreeing on a termination date the notice was not needed.

Molding will be sworn in Jan. 2, 2019.

Previously Gish said prosecuting intern Shane McChurch, a law student at the University of Iowa, would continue with his role as magistrate prosecutor until April. Previously he had planned to leave the role in January to go into his fourth and final year of law school. McChurch works full time for the office handling misdemeanor cases. As long as he has a supervising attorney in the office, he is fully licensed to represent the state in criminal cases.

“Nothing will change in his job description,” Gish said. “He will continue to handle magistrates court through the spring.”