County board approves court appointed attorney RFP

By Daniel E. McGonigle

General Manager

The Caledonia Argus


The county has provided a court appointed attorney for those defendants who need one. This is a service they’ve offered for the past 10 years.

“It is a good way to save money,” said Court Administrator Darlene Larson. “It is different from a public defender.”

Larson came before the county board with a request to again offer the program. She will put it out for bids and it will be a two-year contract.


Historical data

In 2011, there were 115 cases, in 2012, 90, 2013 just 77 and so far in 2014 there have been 79 cases.

“Through May,” said Larson. “We are seeing it pick up again with the various case types.”

The county board had to consider whether to proceed with the court appointed attorney Request for Proposal.

They voted unanimously to move ahead with the RFP.

“We are not obligated to accept what we get back,” noted Larson. “If it comes back with $200,000 then we can go back down to an hourly rate,” said Larson.

The past two-year contract was for $48,000 which was down from $52,000 in 2011.


Other news

The county board approved a 67 day hiring contract with Bonnie Felten who will fill in as a case aid worker.

“We really appreciate the fact that she makes herself available like this,” noted Tess Arrick-Kruger. “It is an efficient use of tax-payer dollars. The rate she is being paid at is the rate that all other 67 day employees in that position would be paid.”

• Officials with the Human Services department in Houston County gave the county commissioners an update regarding the legislative session.

• Building repair costs for the highway department building are expected to be covered at next week’s regular board meeting.