WGXC-90.7 FM

Public defender to boost salaries using state funds

Feb 04, 2019 12:15 pm
Richard Moody is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Columbia County Public Defender’s Office will increase salaries for its attorneys using $300,000 in recently awarded state funding. Public defender D.J. Cornelius will accept the funds from the state Office of Indigent Legal Services, for salaries over the next three years, following approval by the full county Board of Supervisors in February. The money will be used to increase Cornelius’ salary by about $16,000, and the salaries of three part-time assistant public defenders by $30,000, as well as pensions and health care benefits. “These increases are budget-neutral for the county,” Cornelius said. “These are salary increases but a decrease in cost to the local taxpayers.” The award represents a portion of funds expected to be received from the state during the next five years as New York endeavors to improve representation for indigent defendants. In December the county accepted $423,000 to contract with four attorneys for nighttime arraignment services in town and village courts countywide. Greene County received more than $550,000 in state funding to start up its nighttime arraignment services, covering courts in the towns of Coxsackie, Athens, Cairo and Catskill and the village of Catskill. The funding now flowing to local public defender offices was the direct result of a settlement reached between the state and the New York Civil Liberties Union. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.