'Hitting the ground running'
Just days away from taking office, Buena Vista County Attorney-elect Dave Patton said he is nearly ready to go to work for the public, saying that he remains "humbled" by the voters' support in the Nov. 7 election.
"My two assistants, James McHugh and Joshua Walsh, are eager to get started," Patton said. They will replace the current assistant county attorneys on January 1. [For more on the new assistants, see page 3A of today's issue.]
"We have district court on January 2 and we will be ready," Patton said.
One of the bigger transitions Patton has been working on is to help set up his current law office with the proper staff to handle the public workload.
"We are working on staffing for the office," Patton said. "We will also be working on a County Attorney website for people to have more access to information on certain cases and other forms and information about the office."
According to Patton, there were applicants from across the state.
"We had a lot of interest," Patton said. "One of the many requirements is that they had to live in Buena Vista County."
Many files of case information remain to be moved. Patton will also meet with current county attorney Phil Havens, for whom Patton previously worked as an assistant county attorney. Patton defeated Havens in the election.
"We will discuss the cases so that we know what is going on," Patton said.
Patton is looking to lighted the caselist pending in magistrate, district and juvenile court.
"We have some cases that have been pending for over a year and that is something that we will be working on," Patton said.
Patton has also met with Storm Lake Police Chief Mark Prosser.
"The other day I met with Chief Prosser and he is nice and professional," Patton said. "We discussed some issues and are going to work together."
Patton feels a strong responsibility after the result of the voting. "It truly is a humbling life experience. I am still surprised with all the support that I still get."
"When I was on city council, I maybe got one letter a year," Patton said. "Now I have people who contact me to tell what they had questions or concerns about and I am making my list to work on them."
Patton will meet with his assistants today to plan their effort to work on the case load.
As Patton prepares for office, he feels that his experience as an assistant county attorney will help.
"I knew what I was getting into when I decided to run," Patton said. "I don't know how anyone could come into a job like this without some experience in it."
Patton will be attending a session for new County Attorneys the second week of January.
"We hit the ground running then we take a week to attend the seminar," Patton said.
His ultimate goal, he said, is to make sure every case has proper justice. "We are all eager to start working on the cases as soon as we can," Patton said.