Q&A with Eric Eisinger

Benton County Prosecuting Attorney

Eric Eisinger

Number of employees you oversee: As the Benton County prosecuting attorney, I oversee 63 employees, including 32 criminal and civil deputy prosecutors.

Where did you go to law school? What inspired you to pursue law?
I attended law school at the University of Idaho. When I started my undergraduate degree, I initially thought that I wanted to become an architect but soon found that what really drew my attention was history. It felt like law school was a natural extension of that interest.

Describe your career and how it led to the prosecutor role.
When I finished law school, I had my heart set on becoming a prosecutor.
The only problem was that very few prosecutor’s offices were hiring at the time. Just to get some experience, I volunteered at the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office, where I worked in their district court unit.
I tried my first jury trial there against Tyler Everett, an attorney from Grandview. Then, after a few months of volunteer work and continuing to apply for positions across the state, I got my big break – a job offer as a deputy prosecutor for Lewis County.
I worked for Lewis County for about 2 1/2 years. It was a great job, and I had a wonderful supervisor, Andrew Toynbee, who is now a Lewis County Superior Court Judge.
However, my wife and I wanted to be closer to family, so in 2006 I took a position as a prosecutor for the city of Kennewick.

Why did you run for Benton County prosecuting attorney?
I ran for Benton County Prosecutor because I increasingly felt called to return to public service.
We have undergone so much societal change in the last two to three years. I think individuals, families and our community at large are struggling to adjust and to picture a positive future, and I have had a growing personal conviction that I could be a part of the solution.
I love this county. I think it’s a great place to live and raise a family, and I think it’s time to fight to keep it that way and to make it even better.

How does the prosecutor’s office affect the Tri-City business community?
As the chief law enforcement official for the county, it is my responsibility to work with law enforcement to foster an environment where businesses are attracted to move to and remain. We have a unique opportunity for continued business growth in our region, and as we have seen in recent years public safety is integral to a healthy local economy.
For the families and local businesses who call the Tri-Cities home, I want to take proactive measures to make this the best place in the state of Washington to start and conduct business.

What will we see as you take over from Andy Miller, who held the role
for many years?

Andy Miller was our elected prosecutor for 36 years, which means I have a great deal to learn. I am determined to succeed, and I think that with a lot of hard work that we can make this an even better place to live.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
I believe that every leader needs to understand the “why” behind their work. In other words, a leader must have a clear sense of why they are doing the work, what really matters, and what they seek to achieve.

What is the biggest challenge facing managers today?
This is a difficult job market. In recent years, it has proved difficult to hire and retain top quality employees.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about the justice system?
I am eager to see a return to personal responsibility and public accountability.
I recognize that between work, raising a family and all the other responsibilities that go along with adult life, it can be really hard to just get by. I’d love see individuals and families helping others and exercising compassion and care within the context of being accountable to one another.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Be curious. Listen and learn, and then lead.

How do you keep your employees motivated?
Entrusting employees with real responsibility is one of the most motivating things a leader can do.

Who are your role models or mentors?
Lewis County Superior Court Judge Andrew Toynbee taught me how to prosecute and more importantly what it means to be a prosecutor. He’s also an excellent fly fisherman.

How do you balance work and family life?
It is so important to maintain your core family relationships. They say you have to have gas in the tank to get anywhere. I am a big proponent of keeping a regular date night and having family meals together. We also try to limit our TV and screen time.

What do you consider your leadership style to be?
I believe in servant leadership. I am in office to serve the public.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?
I love fishing and cycling.

What’s your best time management strategy?
I learned a long time ago that you want everyone in the office to perform at their level. That means the attorneys should be doing the attorney level work, legal assistants should be doing legal assistant level work and receptionists should do the reception work.

Best tip to relieve stress?
Cycling, taking a walk or doing anything to get outside.

What’s your favorite podcast?
Dr. John Delony has a great podcast that covers a variety of life, relationship and mental health issues.

Do you have a personal mantra, phrase or quote you like to use?
“Do hard things.” I’m choosing to live a life full of meaning. It’s not going to be an easy road, but our community is worth fighting for.

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