Updated with new details, complete text of resignation letter.
By Miles Maguire
Scott A. Ceman, the deputy district attorney for Winnebago County and the lead prosecutor for violent crimes, has resigned his position, citing the chronic problem of low pay for public lawyers in the state's criminal justice system.
"I can no longer justify staying in a job I love while my family goes without," Ceman said in an interview. Last year he earned $69,820, after 14 years in the district attorney's office, where he supervised eight other prosecutors.
By contrast, Oshkosh patrol officers, who do not need to have a college degree, can make up to $71,000, according to the city's website.
In a letter to Gov. Tony Evers and Rep. Gordon Hintz, Ceman explained why he had tendered his resignation. "This is a profession I simply can no longer afford to be a part of."
Ceman is a veteran of the U.S. Army who grew up on a farm and spent seven years as an ironworker. "I appreciate first-hand the struggles of good, working-class people because I've been one my whole life," he wrote.
He said he recognized that many citizens do not have much sympathy for state prosecutors and public defenders.
"Admittedly, back when I was an ironworker, I could have cared less how much they made," Ceman wrote. "However, having prosecuted numerous intentional and reckless homicides and sexual assaults of adults and children, kidnappings, human trafficking and all sorts of other violent and serious crimes over the years, I can attest then when someone's loved one is charged or falls victim to these types of crimes, they suddenly care, as they should."