The Appanoose County Board of Supervisors were set to appoint a replacement County Attorney Thursday morning while their current one, Richard Scott, is in the hospital.
However, 20 minutes before the meeting, Scott phoned to say he was out of the hospital and planned to be back in the office Friday. Scott was being treated in Des Moines for a bad reaction to sleeping medication, and notified the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that he would not be in the office. Scott missed work three days this week - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The supervisors had planned to hire Wayne County's part-time attorney to fill in during Scott's absence.
This is the second time in the last few months that a replacement has been brought in; the first of which being when Scott was temporarily suspended after regulators found that too many cases were being dismissed by his office. The issue was taken up with the Iowa Supreme Court, and Scott was reissued his license in May. During his absence, Davis County Attorney Rick Lynch filled in.
Though a replacement was not needed this time, the recurring situation has prompted the county to consider changing how the system works. As of now, there is no associate or back-up attorney in case Scott is unavailable or unable to work.
"To my knowledge, there's never been a request for an assistant county attorney - not in the last few years, anyway," said Dean Kaster, Chairman of the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors. "But I do think that's something we probably need to start looking at."
Kaster said Appanoose is one of the few counties in Southeast Iowa that has a full-time attorney, rather than a part-time one. However, the problem becomes financial, as the county won't likely be able to afford staffing another person in the attorney's office.