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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Public Defender Proposed Budget Exceeds $ 1 Million - Tim Sledd Explains his Budget

LAWRENCE COUNTY - AUGUST 19, 2022 - The budget hearings begun Thursday night for the Lawrence County office holders and departments.

Lawrence County Chief Public Defender Tim Sledd explains his budget to the Lawrence County Council Thursday night

The public defender's office presented its proposed budget for 2023 which exceeds $1.1 Million. Last year's budget requesti was for $1 Million with the Lawrence County Council trimming the budget down to $896,053.

This budget request is prior to the reimbursement from the State of Indiana through the Indiana Public Defenders Commission. The reimbursement for the 2023 budget year is expected to be between $400,000 - $473,000.

Lawrence County Chief Public Defender Tim Sledd presented his proposed budget informing the Lawrence County Council members the reason behind the expenditures, and how he is hoping to rein in on the costs of contractual labor from the department.

Due to staffing issues and large number of CHNS cases the contractual labor for the Lawrence County Public Defender's Office increased

According to Sledd who started the new position around June of this year, is working to get the staffing levels where they need. to be. This includes 7 attorneys, and five support staff.

A Case Management Coordinator Stacy Zehr has been hired who works as an investigator for the agency. Sledd also hired a Chief Public Defender Daniel Dixon.

Pay Parity has been the biggest issue which says the public defender's office pay must be equal with the prosecutor's office.

in addition, contractual services have been one of the larger expenditures for the county. In 2018, the cost of contractual services was $114,118 and in 2021 raised to over $217,244 in 2021.

New staffing levels at the public defenders should reduce the need for contractual attorneys

Due to the new staffing levels, and being down only one attorney, since June there has been only one case contracted out.

The proposed budget for contractual labor in 2022 was approved at $40,000. The requested budget for 2023 is $190,000. The actual cost to the county will only be $114,000 with the reimbursement from the State of Indiana.

Lawrence County Council took all the budget requests under advisement with a final run through of the 2023 budget to be held on September 20th at 6:00 p.m.

Lawernce County Council will adopt the budget on October 6th at 6:00 p.m. at the Lawrence County courthouse.

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