AWAS CITY — Longtime Iosco County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Rapp has announced that he will be retiring from his position in June 12.
The announcement came at the Iosco County Board of Commissioner’s May 20 meeting. Rapp has worked as the county’s prosecutor in Iosco County for decades. Rapp would have ended his term as prosecutor on Dec. 31, and would have had to run in the November general election if he chose to seek the office again.
He told commissioners that his assistant prosecutor, Attorney James Bacarella, would be appointed by a judge to serve out the remainder of Rapp’s term. Bacarella is registered in the prosecutor race in the upcoming election.
During the May 20 meeting, Rapp discussed the need to hire a new assistant prosecutor to assist Bacarella after Rapp leaves the office.
“My office is going to be picking up rather quickly,” Rapp said. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Iosco County’s courts and operations have been operating on a limited basis. Rapp said he expected the caseload to increase
“Since the odds are that Bacarella is going to be appointed prosecutor we want to get someone in (as a new assistant prosecutor) so we can give them some coaching so we can get him or her ready for the position,” Rapp said.
Rapp told commissioners that he knew the county was concerned about hiring a new position with the current budgetary issues that have been ongoing, with reduced revenues coming into the county as a result of the pandemic. In fact, last month commissioners voted to implement a hiring and spending freeze for the county, where only positions that must be filled by statute could be hired in, according to the resolution.
Rapp said the new assistant prosecutor hire would be funded through his office’s funds that are generated from drunk driving arrests. He said the new position would be hired in at a lower rate, and the person who is hired would not be paid from the general fund of the county.
“I understand you have a hiring freeze but by statute you’re going to have to fill this position. If you look at the statutes during the term of my office, you can’t reduce my assistant staff, regardless of that you may have a hiring freeze, you have to adequately fund the office, it’s a necessary office,” Rapp told commissioners. “I think you’ll have a tough time arguing that you don’t need a full time assistant down here.”
Commissioners asked who Rapp would like to see hired as the assistant prosecutor. Rapp said that he would be leaving that choice up to Bacarella, since he is the person who would be working with the new hire. All the discussion on the matter took place during the commissioner’s committee of the whole meeting.
Commissioner Terry Dutcher cast a motion to send the request by Rapp to the county’s finance committee, and then make a recommendation of possible hiring during the county’s next meeting, to be held June 3. He was supported in the motion by Vice Chairman Jay O’Farrell, and the motion passed unanimously.