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COUNTIES COLLABORATE ON CONFLICT DEFENDER SERVICES

By Colleen Pillus, Dutchess County and Mark Longtoe, Ulster County

In December, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County   Executive Marc Molinaro jointly announced a shared services agreement  between the two counties to address the soaring State-mandated costs of  providing legal defense counsel to indigent clients. The county executives  have forged a cooperative agreement to garner a level of cost containment over a State mandated expense that has now reached a combined total of  nearly $3.9 million annually in Ulster and Dutchess counties, while maintaining high quality representation.

To date, when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing an eligible indigent client due to a legal conflict, a private attorney is  assigned. The attorney then bills the county according to rates established by New York State in a process referred to as “assigned counsel.”

The skyrocketing cost, coupled with decreased program aid from New York State, has placed a significant additional burden on counties to cover the cost of this mandated service. In 2011, this system of providing representation cost Ulster County taxpayers $1,345,653 while Dutchess  County taxpayers spent $2,540,000.

“Governments at every level must learn to work past political differences and municipal boundaries to focus on delivering results for the people. I am confident that the citizens of Ulster and Dutchess will benefit from this innovative collaboration,” said Ulster County Executive Hein.

County Executive Hein continued, “Not only does this pilot program  represent a $175,000 savings for Ulster County’s taxpayers, it represents a $300,000 total savings for our region’s taxpayers, all while those in need continue to receive high quality legal representation. This is truly a  win/win collaboration, and we both look forward to working with our respective legislatures to make it a reality.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “This agreement is the  first of its kind in New York State for county Public Defender’s Offices and  represents exactly the type of cooperative partnerships we need to embrace if we are to be successful in our efforts to deliver smaller, smarter government to our taxpayers. I am grateful to Public Defender Tom Angell for seeking out new and better ways to meet our residents’ needs, while reducing costs. We were very pleased to bring this plan to Ulster County and appreciate the support and cooperation of County Executive Hein to  make this partnership a reality.”

Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover added, “I want to thank  both County Executive Hein and County Executive Molinaro for this  innovative, cooperative approach to a fiscal problem that is plaguing  counties throughout the State. I am excited to take part in this shared  service arrangement, and look forward to working with Dutchess County’s  Public Defender Thomas Angell.”

Dutchess County Public Defender Thomas Angell noted, “This new  arrangement will permit each of our Public Defender Offices to create cost efficiencies while at the same time increasing the quality of legal services  provided. I look forward to this new partnership with Ulster County Public Defender’s Office. Our clients will better served by having access to full time defenders as well as the investigators, social workers and outside resources that our respective Public Defender Offices can provide.”

The one year agreement unveiled today will be a pilot program in County Court, City of Kingston Court and Town of Ulster Court in Ulster County;  and County Court and City of Poughkeepsie Court in Dutchess County.

Posted in NYSAC News Winter 2013 | Comments Off

NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 Table of Contents

Posted in NYSAC News Spring/Summer 2014 | Comments Off

Counties in the News, September 19, 2014

STATEWIDE
New York seeks comment on its open space plan

HUDSON VALLEY
Prevention seen as key to ending county drug crisis

County executive seeking $2.6 million to bring water, sewer services to Dutchess Airport

CAPITAL
Office tower sold in downtown Albany for $33 million

Albany County OKs new cyberbully law

NORTH COUNTRY
SCHUMER GILLIBRAND AND OWENS ANNOUNCE $8.6M IN FUNDING FOR MAJOR EXPANSION AT PLATTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Essex County Offers ‘Financial Literacy’ Program

Alcohol and substance abuse workers of Jefferson County recognized at ceremony

MOHAWK VALLEY
Inventory of shovel-ready sites to get boost from plan

SOUTHERN TIER
Tioga County Bus Service Discontinued

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Town Continues To Address Emergency Preparedness

WESTERN NEW YORK
Niagara County seeking IT project manager

Wyoming County debuts new adult daycare center

Grant puts focus on small business

Committee formed on former county museum building

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Counties in the News, September 18, 2014

HUDSON VALLEY
Orange lawmakers may vote next month on possible sale of government center

T.Z. Bridge loan ruling stirs fear of higher tolls

NORTH COUNTRY
Local Park, Traffic Signal Upgrades to Be Celebrated Around Essex County

River Agency budgets $465,273 in development, environmental projects

ACAP after school programs find needed funding for 2014-15

MOHAWK VALLEY
Oneida County announces new “Have a Plan” mobile app.

FINGER LAKES
Monroe, Wayne County Leaders Focus on Lake Ontario Water Levels (Video)

Ontario County firing range study completed, to be presented Sept. 22

WESTERN NEW YORK
SmartWatt Energy to Attend and Sponsor the New York State Association of Counties Fall Seminar in Buffalo, NY

Countywide Crime Rates On The Rise

Gordon L. Dibble of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office attends statewide training program

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Counties in the News, Wednesday September 17, 2014

STATEWIDE
Possibility of Thruway toll increase emerges after rejection of bridge funding

NY: Wal-Mart Levied Fictional ‘Sugar Tax’ On Soda

NYC
To Help Unaccompanied Minors, New York City Posts Representatives at Immigration Court

HUDSON VALLEY
E.P.A. Cuts Size of Loan New York Sought for Tappan Zee Bridge

HV Airports Receive Funding For Improvements

Editor, County Legislators Want Oil Spill Drill Results

Sullivan County looks at establishing a Family Advocacy Center

CAPITAL
Local Law D vetoed

The Red Cross encourages the public to prepare for emergencies

NORTH COUNTRY
Lewis County adopts new indigent burial policy

SOUTHERN TIER
DEP eyes Cannonsville Reservoir for hydropower

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Pulaski regains title

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Counties in the News, September 16, 2014

STATEWIDE
Choices limited on wage menu

CAPITAL
Columbia County film fest debuts with free event

SOUTHERN TIER
Proposed budget includes tax jump for Broome County residents (Video)

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Mahoney proposes plan to pay for Onondaga Lake amphitheater (Audio)

Onondaga County Executive puts brakes to $30 million expansion of county jail

Onondaga County’s new health commissioner is a California MD with roots in Syracuse

WESTERN NEW YORK
Geneseo man puts retirement on hold to lead Wyoming County economic development

Erie County Legislature plans elder abuse forums

Standard and Poor’s Boosts Erie County’s Credit Rating to New Levels (Video)

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Counties in the News, September 15, 2014

NATIONAL
Battle on Capitol Hill over tax inversions

STATEWIDE
James Odato: Audits sought on tax cheats

Thruway Authority: E-ZPass overcharged 35,000 motorists

CAPITAL REGION
Out of sight, out of mind

MOHAWK VALLEY
Board issues edicts

SOUTHERN TIER
From scandal to awareness: Domestic violence in Broome County (Video)

FINGER LAKES
Ontario County supervisors remember Sept. 11

WESTERN NEW YORK
Governor: Renovated Buffalo Bills Stadium is Enough for Team

Verizon looking into Erie County 911 problem

Wyoming County seen melding agriculture with artwork

County Home participates in ice bucket challenge

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Counties in the News, September 12, 2014

NYSAC
2014 Fall Seminar

LONG ISLAND
Town, county leaders worry FEMA may not provide aid for August flooding

CAPITAL
Troy announces plans to aid homeless veterans

MOHAWK VALLEY
Legislature OKs sale of Country Manor

CENTRAL NEW YORK
CNY solar expert: Now is the time to invest in sun power

SOUTHERN TIER
Steuben ceremony honors Sept. 11 first responders

FINGER LAKES
Award contracts to be ‘based on best value’

Seneca County considers eliminating reroofing fees

WESTERN NEW YORK
Progress on Chautauqua regional water district announced

Cattaraugus County lawmakers agree to $25,000 SPCA donation

Cattaraugus County adding to its ‘Heritage Trails’

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Counties in the News, September 11, 2014

September 11th

We remember and we honor…those who lost their lives and their loved ones…sacrificed their time and health in response…and those who continue to serve to protect our land and our freedom.

STATEWIDE
Casino workers union raps gaming firm

NEW YORK CITY
9/11 illness benefit arrives at last

HUDSON VALLEY
Sullivan Legislature approves phase two of emergency tower development

CAPITAL
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy vetoes tobacco ban

Albany officials announce relocation of Capital Bank’s headquarters to downtown Albany

NORTH COUNTRY
More vacancies in Lewis County Legislature advisory boards

MOHAWK VALLEY
Oneida County Legislator Ken Fort petitions New York State for mandatory welfare drug testing

Country Manor sale gets approval

CENTRAL NEW YORK
County Begins 2015 Budget Review

Public hearing set for Madison County tax cap override vote

FINGER LAKES
Seneca County supervisors turn to U.S. Supreme Court on foreclosure issue

WESTERN NEW YORK
County Employees Kick Off United Way Campaign

Legislature committee rejects panel to study sales tax aid to localities

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Counties in the News, September 10, 2014

STATEWIDE
New York Says It’s Time to Flip The Switch On Its Power Grid

Jackpot casino offer to state

Governor Cuomo Announces Commemoration of September 11th Day of Service by New York State AmeriCorps Members

NEW YORK CITY
State’s lawmakers make push to reauthorize compensation law

NYC terror threat more complex

HUDSON VALLEY
N.J. competitor could threaten Rockland sales tax growth

Casino hopefuls present plans to state selection board

Prescription-drug abuse can be curbed

CAPITAL
Schenectady County Legislature honors Gazette for 120 years

NORTH COUNTRY
State, county officials ponder Keene bridge replacement puzzle

WESTERN NEW YORK
Allegany Co. legislators designate waterline, technology center as top projects

Poloncarz talks about Bills sale

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Counties in the News, September 9, 2014

STATEWIDE
Casinos bring in backers

New York on Track for Billion-Dollar Baby Boomer Flight Problem

HUDSON VALLEY
Dutchess legislators approve money to rehab airport taxiways

Coalition blasts state Public Service Commission over power line proposals

CAPITAL
Albany County passes new version of cyberbullying law

Saratoga County panel OKs airport plan

NORTH COUNTRY
IDA trying to decide which structure of economic development is best for Lewis County

CENTRAL NEW YORK
Onondaga County pushes for jail oversight committee

FINGER LAKES
Livingston County accepting Agricultural District applications in September

WESTERN NEW YORK
Delays in implementing Niagara County’s emergency radio system spark outcry

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Counties in the News, September 8, 2014

STATEWIDE
Casino applicants to make public pitches

State grapples with foreclosed, abandoned homes

HUDSON VALLEY
Dutchess mental hygiene, health departments may merge

Orange County to introduce solar power at its facilities

Healthcare in Orange County under the microscope

CAPITAL
Sharpened Albany County cyberbullying law heads to Monday vote

NORTH COUNTRY
St. Lawrence Gas project near finish line

New York State Citizen Preparedness Training Program at South Lewis Central School

MOHAWK VALLEY
Meeting set to weigh payment to state

FINGER LAKES
County Executive Maggie Brooks holds news conference on Glazer plane crash (Video)

Ontario County jail population drops

WESTERN NEW YORK
County gets head start on budget

Work beginning on business park in Genesee County’s Town of Alabama

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