Two Counties Share a Service to Save Money
Two counties in New York’s Hudson Valley will be sharing a legal service that officials say could save the counties’ taxpayers more than 300-thousand dollars a year. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro say their counties are starting a one-year pilot program to share legal defense counsel. And here’s why: when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing a client because of a legal conflict, a private attorney is assigned. The private attorney then bills the County according to rates established by New York State. The county executives say that cost, coupled with decreased program aid from the State, have placed an additional burden on counties to cover the cost of this mandated service. They say sharing the service will help contain costs. Dutchess County Executive Molinaro says the agreement is the first of its kind in New York State for County Public Defender’s Offices.