WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Budget cutting is common in Pennsylvania, but a local county’s District Attorney pleaded to leave his department alone.

Luzerne County Council has to adopt its 2023 budget on December 13.

All eyes were on the District Attorney as he presented his proposed budget during the third-to-last council meeting before the adoption.

“In order to understand the budget, I think it’s important to understand what it is that we’ve gone through,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.

Sanguedolce spoke in front of county council and members of the public Tuesday night, presenting his 2023 proposed budget.

“I think the elephant in the room is personnel,” said Sanguedolce.

Sanguedolce was emphatic, cutting staff should not be an option with jury and bench trials up 25% over last year.

“I’m asking that council not cut any of my positions. I’m afraid of the lag time, as it is we’re short-handed,” said Sanguedolce.

To stress his point, Sanguedolce rattled off a list of dozens of positions that have experienced turnover.

“It’s been detectives, one drug force task officer, five division chiefs, four full-time ADAs, four part-time ADAs, two office managers, three trial administrative assistants, three clerk III’s, and four other clerks, I’s and II’s. In just two years that’s a tremendous amount of people that I’ve had to train,” said Sanguedolce.

Sanguedolce talked about the potential to use grant funding and explained how he believes it would help improve the collective efforts of law enforcement in the county.

“We need to stop pretending that we don’t have big city problems. We have big city problems but not big city resources so it’s important to be smart about our resources,” said Sanguedolce.

The DA told council he’s doing his best to be smart with those resources with the goal of being ahead of the curve to try to avoid or prevent any major tragedies.