SOMERSET, SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Somerset County District Attorney’s office is under fire after photos, taken by a maintenance worker, showed empty beer cans in the courthouse office on two separate occasions.
District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas acknowledged those beers cans and says they were consumed after hours and believes his office is being treated unfairly.
According to county solictor, Michael Barbero, workplace alcohol violates the county’s policy but Thomas says everyone was of legal age, no one was intoxicated and it was a celebration of a big case his office had just wrapped up.
Thomas adds that this type of celebration was common with previous district attorneys and says his predecessor even left him alcohol and that he was unaware of the policy.
He says he has been pushing for the county to increase his office’s budget so they can add more staff to what he describes as an ever growing case load.
The county hasn’t budged and is asking Thomas to fill out timesheets for his employees but he says he isn’t legally obligated.
“They can’t be like I said at two places at once so if I have someone at a magistrates office, they also can’t be in front of a meeting with victims or if they’re in front of a common pleas judge, they also can’t be preparing for trial,” said Thomas.
“This is the first time. at least as far as I’m aware, the first time we’ve encountered an issue like this with an elected official. I mean typically there’s a level of professionalism there and the parties amicably work together to ensure a safe workplace,” said Barbero.
Thomas says their caseload is on pace to nearly double that of last year’s and that additional employees would also increase safety for detectives in the field.