• Bill Raines

Lawrence County Chief Public Defender Restructuring Public Defender Office

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JULY 23, 2022 - The newly hired Chief Public Defender Tim Sledd is restructuring the department after expenditures from the office is nearing $1 Million.


Tim Sledd, Chief Public Defender at a previous Lawrence County Council Meeting


The office has faced several issues over the last three years, due to low pay, high turnover, caseloads, and requirements from the Indiana Public Defender Commission.


Lawrence County has been a member of the Public Defender Commission since 2010 and are reimbursed 40 percent costs of the county's public defenders. Not all Indiana Counties are a member of the commission.


Sledd did tell the Lawrence Council members that the news story written by the Lawrence County Zephyr three days ago, (Lawrence County Chief Public Defender Salary to Increase in 2023https://static.wixstatic.com/media/f8831f_35e1b9ce6bcb4bcaa81104322fbc338d~mv2.jpg/v1/fit/w_447%2Ch_615%2Cal_c%2Cq_80/file.jpg https://www.lczephyr.org/post/lawrence-county-chief-public-defender-salary-to-increase-in-2023 was inaccurate, that there would not be any salary increases.


The information obtained from the news story came from the PDC: Public Defender Commission (in.gov).


The public defender's office is requesting the office staff of 7 public defenders, with the creation of a Chief Deputy Public Defender and Support Manager. Most of those positions will be part-time.


The support manager has already been hired by the office, and the position will have to be created by a salary ordinance. Sledd is trying to get the amount of contract lawyers the county is currently paying is under control.


Sledd warned the commissioners that contract lawyers from the end of last year, and the first of this year, will require him to request additional appropriation in the near future.


The Lawrence County Council thanked Sledd for his openness and transparency as he is working with issues, that occurred prior to his hiring.


Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor the developing story. The budget process for all county offices is expected to begin shortly.


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