Council schedules work session to discuss creating public defender's office
Update: At the request of county staff, the work session has been set over one week, to 1 p.m. Aug. 16 in conference room 698 at the Public Service Center.
The Clark County Council has scheduled a work session to further explore the idea of creating a small public defender's office.
The session, which is open to the public, will be 1 p.m. Aug. 9 in conference room 698 at the Public Service Center. Councilors don't typically take public testimony at work sessions. Instead, it's a time for them to ask questions of staff members.
Defense attorneys who have contracts with the county to represent people who qualify for court-appointed counsel were initially told July 12 that the council was expected to approve the proposal and it would be effective Sept. 1. The issue hadn't yet been discussed with the council, however, and during a July 19 meeting the five members of the board said they wanted a work session and hear more about the proposal before advancing it to a public hearing and putting it to a vote.
The Columbian recently had an article on the proposal, and Chairman Marc Boldt said he and other councilors are wary of creating new staff positions.