Chief deputy to leave

District Attorney's Office endures changes, turnover

Amy Fitch will leave her job as chief deputy district attorney for the 14th Judicial District on Feb. 3., adding to a list of staff changes and departures the office has experienced since November.

District Att--orney Bonnie Roe--sink said nothing was unusual about the staff changes at her office, which employs 20 people and serves Moffat, Grand and Routt counties.

Fitch, who has served the 14th District for nearly two years, will take a job with the Ninth Judicial District in Glenwood Springs, Roesink said.

Fitch could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"Amy's leaving under good terms," Roesink said. "I just feel badly that she had such a huge caseload."

Fitch was the fourth employee to leave the 14th Judicial District since November.

In November, investigator Ray Birch left after five years to move to Steamboat Springs to work in the Routt County Sheriff's Office. He's now vying to become sheriff.

Also in November, Deputy District Attorney Jay Cranmer transferred from the Moffat County office of the 14th Judicial District to the Routt County office. Cranmer made the move because he lived in Steamboat, Roesink said.

In December, Deputy Dis--trict Attorney Marc Guerette left to pursue other opportunities, including traveling to Japan, after two years with the Moffat County office.

Also in December, Martha Thompson, a victim witness coordinator, left her position in the Grand County office of the 14th Judicial District after her husband accepted a position with the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Thompson had, at one time, worked at the office for five years. She left the office and returned before leaving again in December.

In 2004, turnover of prosecutors in the Fifth Judicial District became an election issue. District Attorney Mark Hurlbert was criticized when nine of 10 staff attorneys left after he took office in December 2002, according to reports.

Roesink said it wasn't uncommon to have high turnover at district attorney offices in resort areas.

Roesink said some employees and staff members have been with the office for years. At least two employees have worked for the office for 25 years, Roesink said.

From February 2003 to Sept--ember 2004, seven attorneys left Roesink's office, according to reports. Salary and cost of living in resort towns played a big part in turnover, she said in September.

Michael Stern, the newest deputy district attorney in Moffat County, also said turnover occurs in cycles.

Stern has worked as a prosecutor in Guam, the Virgin Islands and Colorado's Seventh Judicial District.

"It's always hard to lose good people," Stern said. "Sometimes, it occurs, and you rather it didn't."

Stern began working for the 14th Judicial District in August.

Roesink said she has a possible replacement for Fitch, who handled 384 cases last year. The office struggled with finding temporary workers to help Fitch with her caseload, Roesink said.

"It was difficult for her," Roesink said.

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