The process of rebuilding the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office is continuing with the new administration’s first murder conviction, its first dismissal of a murder case and the hiring of more key staff members, as well as an effort to increase salaries.
In all, newly-appointed Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore has hired 10 new prosecutors. Four of them are on loan from neighboring prosecuting attorney’s offices, according to Gore’s spokeswoman Kathyrn Jamboretz.
The recruitment momentum may continue, should St. Louis alderwoman Cara Spencer see a bill she is sponsoring make it to the mayor’s desk. The bill would boost salaries for assistant circuit attorneys and has an emergency clause, which means it would take effect immediately if approved.
It will be the second salary increase the office has seen in about a year.
Former St. Louis Alderman Brandon Bosley got a pay increase for the Circuit Attorney’s Office in June 2022 during former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s administration.
Bosley did not win re-election and was federally indicted on wire fraud charges earlier this week. Gardner resigned under fire May 16.
Spencer’s bill would repeal Bosley’s bill, and boost salaries even higher than his did.
The average raise percentage across the categories of employees included in the proposed bill is about 15%.
The category of employees with the lowest range of salaries included in the proposed bill — who currently make about $47,000 to $73,000 a year — could see an increase as high as 26% to their maximum salary.
Employees with the highest salary range who currently make between $96,000 to $146,900, could see their salaries jump to $100,800 to $182,900 — and increase of about 24% to the maximum salary.
The bill will also give Gore the ability to add an additional 10% onto a maximum salary for employees in the affected categories.
It will also make assistant circuit attorneys eligible for overtime pay — something they will likely need given how few attorneys were left in Gardner’s administration when she resigned.
Spencer introduced it to the Board of Aldermen on Friday. It passed out of committee during the Budget and Public Employees Committee hearing Wednesday.
In a statement, her Chief of Staff Jay Nelson noted Board of Alderwoman President Megan Green and her administration are “committed to both increasing wages for all city employees and expanding the city’s workforce to better serve the needs of the community.”
“Our office is working with the Board of Aldermen and county offices to ensure that all pay bills are processed in a timely manner before the start of the FY24 budget year,” Nelson wrote.
Also this week, Gore announced his administration won a murder conviction against Kennice Brock, 51, who shot Carl Netter to death during a neighborhood barbecue in 2020. The conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Zachary Linhares worked with Netter at a moving company from 2016 to 2019 and described him as a “peacekeeper” who was just trying to diffuse the situation when he was killed.
“When Carl was on the job, you always knew that even if it was a really difficult move that day that you were going to be able to laugh and have a good time and relax, and he just had a way of speaking that was peaceful,” Linhares said. “The way that he carried himself was peaceful, and it was very kind at all points in time.
“I’d never seen Karl be mad. I’d never seen him frustrated or angry, or yell at anybody. He always carried himself in a way that was again very kind and loving towards other human beings.”
Brock was repeatedly told to put away his gun during the barbecue at the bar on the city’s northside when the shooting happened.
“It was really hard hearing of Carl’s death,” Linhares said. “To know that it took three years for really anything substantial to happen with this case, it gives me some degree of closure to know that the person who shot and killed Carl is not in a position to ever do that again to somebody else.”
Linhares said he also thinks of the shooter.
“It also breaks my heart because he’s a human being, and he has loved ones, and he has friends, and he has family, and to do what he did doesn’t just come from a vacuum,” he said. “I’m sure that he also experienced very difficult things in his life.