DETROIT - Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy sat and watched the Wayne County Commission wrestle with its problems on Thursday, but she said nothing.
Worthy is suing the commissioners and county Executive Robert Ficano for allegedly underfunding her Prosecutor's Office. She says Ficano signed a letter promising her $35 million in funding this year. The budget gave Worthy only $24 million. She has laid off dozens of prosecutors including Assistant Prosecutor Nisreen Fahkouri.
"We're putting ourselves in danger," said Fahkouri.
Fahkouri picked up a pink slip on Friday. She's looking at $130,000 in Cooley Law School debt and has to leave three homicide cases on her desk. She worries about Wayne County residents.
"Twenty-six people, who are attorneys, who go through school and have tons of student loans are making less than one of Ficano's drivers. Why is it that we're the one paying public safety over anything?" Fahkouri said.
When the budget issues came up Thursday, Worthy disappeared. That frustrated commissioners such as Diane Webb who says Ficano's letter is bogus.
"He can't on his own arbitrarily promise any county-wide elected a certain budget amount. That has to be deliberated and approved by the Commission. I know that the prosecutor has been around here long enough to be aware of that, to know that," said Webb.
Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak said everyone should realize the state could intervene.
"Everybody has to understand that if the individual departments don't start coming into line the state will come and say, 'You have to,'" said Woronchak.
Unlike Detroit City Council where the mayor and Council pretty much are stuck with each other, the County Commission can be sued by elected department heads such as Worthy.
Worthy is fighting this hard. However, everyone else is saying you don't have to look far to see the trouble that comes from not getting on the same budget cutting page.
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