I am writing regarding the Clatsop County Commission's recent decision to cut the county stipend of its elected District Attorney Josh Marquis ("What's in the water at the courthouse?," The Daily Astorian, May 17).

There is probably no one better suited to represent the people of Clatsop County than Marquis. I have known and worked with him since we both were elected to the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association a decade ago.

Marquis is a dedicated prosecutor with a passion for the work we do. He is committed to protecting the public safety of the citizens of his community, helping victims, and holding those who threaten and endanger his community fully accountable.

He consistently speaks out against injustice, and is well-respected and admired nationally as well as locally.

He has taught and trained prosecutors across the United States, and has represented America's prosecutors in testimony before the U.S. Senate.

He is a man of the highest ethics and the utmost integrity, both personally and professionally. As far as I know, Marquis is also the only prosecutor to ever have published a scholarly law review article which subsequently was cited and relied on in a U.S. Supreme Court published opinion. He is a credit to our profession, and a candidate to represent America's prosecutors as our next national president.

So why do the members of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners want to cut his salary? Is it because of poor performance? That certainly is not the case. Is it because they need $13,500 to balance the total county budget? If so, there many places to seek this small sum that won't impact just one person.

Perhaps the commissioners have determined that every Clatsop County elected official, including themselves, should take a 15 percent pay cut to help reduce the county budget? Highly unlikely.

The action of removing a worthy, high-performing elected official's county stipend appears to be petty, mean-spirited, spiteful and vindictive. The only logical conclusion that occurs to the disinterested observer is that the removal of the district attorney's county stipend is punitive payback because his wife challenged Chairman Richard Lee in a contested election. As ethical and responsible elected officials, I am certain that cannot be their intention. Or is it?

The astonishing and outstanding work of Marquis costs the Clatsop County taxpayers less than $14,000 a year. The citizens of Clatsop County are getting an incredible bargain.

As elected officials responsible for the well-being of the citizens of Clatsop County, the board of commissioners should be applauding Marquis and raising his stipend, not removing it. They should be responsible for having made a mistake of judgment, and reconsider and reverse their ill-advised, foolish decision.

Barbara LaWall

board member, National District Attorneys Association

commissioner, Arizona Criminal Justice Commission

Tucson, Ariz.

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