SUNBURY – Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz will get an additional assistant district attorney after a special salary board meeting was called Friday in order to approve a full-time position for the swamped and overworked prosecutor’s office.
President Judge Charles Saylor spoke on behalf of the courts and said the Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office is swamped and overloaded with criminal cases.
“I fully support this position,” he told the salary board Friday.
Matulewicz is currently working with four other assistant district attorney’s even though he lost his former first assistant Julia Skinner.
Matuelwicz made Robin Zinzinger the new first assistant but has yet to replace Skinner’s job. He now has approval for an additional hire and said that made him happy.
Matulewicz thanked Commissioners Sam Schiccatano, Kym Best and Joe Klebon, along with Saylor and the county’s police chiefs for supporting the position.
“Thank you very much for this. I want to thank the entire salary board, the president judge and the police for recognizing the position is needed. The numbers speak for themselves. ” he told the salary board. “Crime is up 150-percent since I took office in 2017.”
Matulewicz said he understands that money is an issue for the county and he is grateful to get the help.
Schiccatano and Matulewicz have been meeting and talking for the past six months and working together to come up with a way to get help for Matulewicz, who just secured a guilty verdict of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault, in the high-profile case of Samantha Delcamp, 26, of Trevorton, who a jury said knew about the abuse of her 3-year-old daughter, Arabella Parker, who was beaten to death, and never reported it.
Matulewicz has more than 10 murder or attempted murder cases, including two death penalty cases, looming over him in the next year.
“There was no doubt he (Matulewicz) needed the help,” Schiccatano said. “We are happy to be able to help. We will review the position often and see where we stand in getting some of these cases out of the courts and completed. ”
Best said she worked with the union to make sure they were all on board with Matulewicz getting what was passed as a “temporary full-time assistant district attorney.”
Best said county commissioners will monitor the position and make sure they can afford to keep it.
Best, an attorney, said she understands the caseload is high and the longer those cases remain in the courts, the jail population can rise, thus causing taxpayers more money.
“Crime is up and the caseload is heavy,” she said. “I met with the president judge to discuss this and we are dealing with the issue.”
Last year the district attorney’s office not only lost Skinner, but also lost Richard Aimee, who had a combined 900 cases between them.
Currently, the assistant district attorneys are Zenzinger, Leslie Bryden, Michael Seward, and Sarah Stigerwalt-Egan.
The starting salary for an assistant district attorney is $ 50,000, according to county officials.