By Joe Johnson
The embattled Western Judicial Circuit DA’s Office is losing yet another key staffer.
On Tuesday, DA Deborah Gonzalez's external affairs director announced that her last day on the job will be this Friday.
Jenna Vaisvil said in an email that she was “leaving to pursue a new and exciting opportunity on a larger scale.”
Vaisvil is at least the third person to serve as the DA's external affairs director, a public relations position that Gonzalez created.
She said in the email that “I leave as a friend to the office, with nothing but well wishes for the wonderful people doing this important and often very difficult work on a daily basis.”
As external affairs director, Vaisvil has dealt with media inquiries concerning an astonishing rate of turnover of prosecutors in the DA’s office, and questions about serious criminal cases being dismissed because of basic procedural errors.
Vaisvil has responded to the media that there was a shortage of prosecutors locally because there is such a shortage statewide and nationally, and that the judicial circuit for Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties offers noncompetitive pay in an extremely competitive market.
Courthouse sources said that at the beginning of February, there were as few as five prosecutors in the local DA’s office, which is budgeted for 17 assistant district attorneys.
The DA’s official staff directory appears to show a near full complement of prosecutors, though some of the listed ADAs quit months ago.
Prosecutors who have quit told Classic City News that they left because of Gonzalez’s management of the office. The current DA has a background in entertainment law and before being elected in 2020 had never prosecuted a criminal case or participated in a trial.