Our Plan to Improve the Attorney General’s Office’s Work Environment and Community Engagement
By Elad Gross, Candidate for Missouri Attorney General
Happy Labor Day!
Our campaign for Missouri Attorney General has already rolled out some of the most extensive policy proposals for the office ever, including one to combat the misclassification of workers. On this Labor Day, we want to focus on the office’s most important and often most overlooked component: the people who work there.
Assistant Attorneys General in Missouri (others than those at the top), investigators, and support staff are underpaid and overworked. They stay because they believe in public service and in what our state can be. They prosecute scammers, help set state policy, and even make sure our election system functions. They play a crucial role in making Missouri work.
We should make sure Missouri works for them too.
As a state, we are underfunding so many of our important services, including our legal system. If we won’t properly compensate our public servants, we can, at the very least, make the Attorney General’s Office a wonderful place to work. That means cutting bureaucracy, providing unparalleled training and support, and empowering staff to meaningfully serve our state.
Here’s our plan to improve the Attorney General’s Office’s work environment and community engagement:
- Pay. As Attorney General, I will advocate on behalf of our state’s employees, and not just those in our office. Corrections officers, social workers, and so many other employees are severely underpaid, with many unable to make ends meet on poverty wages.
Within the office, we will restructure our salary system so that we stop hiring bureaucrats at much higher wages, pay all of our workers more, and trust every staff member to do their jobs well. We need to invest in our people.
- Empower workers. We need to trust our staff members to get the job done, and we need to highlight their accomplishments. Every employee of the office will be able to reach me directly and will have the opportunity to report on what they need to do their jobs well. We will use the experiences of staff members to direct the office and create needed roles to better serve Missourians. Everyone will have a voice in our state.
- Training. We will provide world-class training at the Attorney General’s Office including in case management, advocacy, and government transparency. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has had some of the country’s best attorneys serve our state. Every potential employee should know that they will gain phenomenal skills working in our office.
- Recruitment. We will focus heavily on recruiting excellent public servants. For lawyers, that starts before law school. We will implement a long-term strategy, in partnership with the community, to encourage more youth, college and law school students, and current attorneys from many different backgrounds to consider public service in the law. We will also explore the practices of other Attorney General’s Offices in different states to make employment offers to law students earlier in the process like private employers do so we more readily compete for talent and reward those people dedicated to public service.
- Community involvement. The Attorney General’s Office should not be siloed from our neighborhoods. We will be present in our community. We will routinely meet with Missourians to better understand the issues in our state and advocate on your behalf. Staff members — who come from all over the state — will play a large role in directing the office’s community engagement efforts.
- Anti-discrimination policies. As Attorney General, I will implement the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) in our office. We will not terminate or punish employees because of who they are. We should pass MONA as a state law, but, no matter what happens, we have a plan to protect all Missourians’ civil rights.
- Paid family leave and childcare. We will provide paid family leave for new parents, including those who adopt, and we will look for ways to reduce the cost of childcare for employees. As part of this effort, we will explore flexible and remote work opportunities and partnering with childcare providers. We shouldn’t lose great public servants because they want to start families.
- Independent Research Unit. The Attorney General’s Office should have an Independent Research Unit that provides timely and in-depth recommendations for best practices in our state to save taxpayer money. This research will include ways to improve the work environments within the Attorney General’s Office and client agencies, like the Department of Corrections, to reduce costly employment lawsuits that end up being paid by taxpayers. We can make our state a great place to work and save money doing it.
We need leadership that understands the potential we have in Missouri. This is the home we can have. You can help.
Join us at EladGross.org.