Supervisors approve hire of prosecutor intern

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


There were several personnel change requests approved at the supervisors meeting Tuesday morning including hiring a prosecution intern at the Washington County attorney?s office.

Washington County attorney John Gish gave the supervisors some information about the position before they approved the request.

?This is a position we do not currently have,? Gish said. ?It?s a position I don?t think we?ve had for a few years now.?

The county attorney?s office reviewed some of the cases they?ve had in 2016 and 2017 and saw a 40 percent increase in cases, he said.

?On criminal cases alone we had about a 25 percent increase and just looking at the indictable offenses we had probably the highest number ever,? Gish added.

The expectations when prosecuting cases have added stress to the work the employees in his department does, so he was looking for creative ways to help reduce that stress, he said.

One of the ways he found was through a program at the University of Iowa and Drake University law schools, which partner with the Iowa Attorney General?s Office to allow the hiring of a law student during the summer as a prosecuting intern, Gish said. The intern will get paid $10 an hour, but the benefit for the intern is they get to practice law under the supervision of a licensed attorney.

?So back in February I went to the University of Iowa,? Gish added. ?I interviewed nine applicants for the position in my office. Shane McChurch was the applicant I offered the position to. He accepted.?

McChurch will start working full time May 23 through the first or second week of August, he said. McChurch is finishing his second year of law school and is currently an intern with the U.S. Attorney?s Office. He was previously an intern for a federal judge.

?I liked him,? Gish said. ?He had a real good mind-set for a prosecuter?s office.?

Gish also told the supervisors one of the benefits from this program is he can apply for financial assistance to help pay for McChurch?s wages while he?s working at the county attorney?s office.

The supervisors approved Gish?s request unanimously.

Other personnel change requests included: an employee change at the communications center, two summer interns for the Washington County engineering department and an employee change at public health. The parent educator is leaving the department.

The supervisors also approveda Class C Native wine license for Revassar Winery in Ainsworth, heard an update on the Washington County Recycling Center and approved the quarterly report from the sheriff?s department.