Denver District Attorney Beth McCann made her case for a raise Tuesday in front of the city council’s finance committee, which questioned the city’s top prosecutor through a lens of economic austerity.
McCann, the city’s top criminal prosecutor and an elected official, makes over $228,000 a year. Under the proposal, she would see a 1 percent raise in 2022 and 3 percent raises in 2023 and 2024. She would make almost $245,000 that year, the final of her term.
Denver’s government will freeze raises for city workers next year because of the pandemic-induced recession. The DA would not receive raises in 2022 and 2023 as long as city employee salaries remain static, according to the current proposal. Given that stipulation, McCann called the potential raise “fair and reasonable.”
McCann said her salary is the second-highest among prosecutors in the state, with Jefferson County leading the pack.
She presented slides about her accomplishments to councilmembers that focused on new units in her office for human trafficking, elder abuse, behavioral health, and children charged with crimes, among several others. McCann highlighted efforts to reduce the jail population and “examine” racial disparities. McCann bought copies of “The New Jim Crow” for her staff, she said, and established committees on police violence among others.
Some internal changes came after protests against police violence this summer, she said. Reformers protested McCann this summer, at one point showing up at her home in an attempt to pressure her into filing charges against the police officer who killed William DeBose. She did not charge that officer and released video evidence to back up her decision. While McCann has charged police officers with crimes, no prosecutor has charged a Denver officer with killing someone since the 90s.)
Council President Stacie Gilmore questioned whether the 3 percent salary hikes were necessary given the city’s tight economic situation and the fact that her first term featured yearly raises of just 2 percent. Other councilmembers thought the raise in 2024 should be predicated on raises for other city employees.
The finance committee advanced the salary increase to the full city council, which will vote on the measure in early January, though the specifics could change between now and then.
This article was updated to clarify that McCann did not “clear” an officer but instead did not charge him.