Del Norte County District Attorney Dale Trigg told North Coast News he resigned, effective Thursday June 1.
"Before I was elected District Attorney (DA) on June 3, 2014," Trigg said, "County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina told me that he was aware of the structural pay issues for the DA and promised to correct it. I took him at his word. Three years later, nothing has changed."
When North Coast News spoke to Sarina on the phone, asking if he had promised Trigg that pay correction, he said it wasn't true.
"In general Trigg is correct that there is a structural pay issue but I did not make him that promise," Sarina said.
Sarina said he does not handle pay himself and that it is a process that the County Administrative Office must negotiate, then it must be approved by the board of supervisors. He said negotiations surrounding this particular pay discrepancy have been going on for the past couple of years.
Trigg said everything he has to say at the moment regarding his resignation is in his resignation letter. In the letter, he states unfair pay as his reason for leaving.
According to Transparent California, Del Norte County District Attorney Dale Trigg's total pay and benefits as of 2015 was $136,223.54. Transparent California reports that his Assistant District Attorney Katherine Micks' total pay and benefits that same year was $147,545.31.
Now, Trigg said that difference in pay is more than a $17,000 difference, which is the reason he resigned so suddenly. He said the assistant district attorney (ADA) position is currently the highest paid job in the DA's Office.
"Currently, I make over $17,000 less than my ADA, who also gets over forty paid days off per year between vacation, holidays, illness and administrative leave," Trigg wrote. "I have taken about half that personal time away from the office in all three of my years combined."
Trigg went on to say that he will not earn what his assistant district attorney makes today until January of 2023, if he is elected to a third term in office. He also said he was never in it for the money, but he does not think the pay structure of an assistant district attorney making more than the district attorney makes sense.
As assistant district attorney, Katherine Micks told North Coast News she has been ADA since 2007 and she will serve as acting DA until the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meet and appoint an interim DA. Micks told North Coast News she believes the elected DA should make more than the ADA.
"Three years is long enough to wait for the promise to properly compensate this position to be filled," Trigg said.
His letter stated that he has accepted a job offer that better reflects his experience and ability, and includes a better reward, although he did not say what that job was. When North Coast News reached out to Trigg again for comment on what his new position is, he did not answer.