County receives state grant for future public defender’s office

CENTREVILLE — The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday accepted the Indigent Defense Grant from the State of Michigan by a vote of 4-1.
District Court Judge Hon. Jeff Middleton explained the purpose of the grant to the commissioners at their executive meeting a week before. New requirements are being made on the state level, which will quickly require the county to establish a public defender’s office. The grant amount is just over $266,000 with the local share contribution being at about $414,000.
“This is state mandated but it is going to cost the county more money down the road. It is not our choice,” Commissioner Dan Czajkowski said.
The outgoing 5th District Commissioner John Dobberteen, who was not in attendance at the executive meeting, voted against the grant.
“It should be our choice because it is a unfunded mandate and we are not suppose to have those,” he said.
Commissioner Dennis Allen said there is a possibility of receiving more grant funding in the future, which Middleton said he would help write applications for.
In other business, the board…
•Approved an exception to the hiring freeze to fill a new position, Juvenile Day Treatment Coordinator, with the hopes to save money compared to hiring a supervisor.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or sam@threeriversnews.com

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