Legislature approves computer station for district attorney’s office
MONTGOMERY COUNTY – District Attorney Lorraine Diamond got some of the support she requested from the County Legislature on Tuesday, but not all.
The Legislature voted 7-2 to approve the creation of a full-time Network Systems Administrator with a base salary of $ 62,130 plus $ 21,000 in benefits costs, but left Diamond’s other two requests. – the creation of a first assistant district attorney (base salary $ 98,000, plus fringe benefits) and a full-time paralegal – filed for now.
County executive Matt Ossenfort pleaded Tuesday night for the legislature to move quickly to approve Diamond’s request for the creation of the Network Systems Administrator. The job is to help the district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices meet the new requirements of the New York State Criminal Justice Reform Act, 2019, which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence gathered against charged more quickly than in the past. Ossenfort said the need for the new IT employee is significant and most of the costs will be offset by the elimination of a $ 20,244 microcomputer technician position already included in the 2021 budget of the county.
“The additional requirements for [legal] Discovery from a computational point of view is burdensome for the sheriff and the district attorney, and this creates the need for additional help, ”Ossenfort said. “This was initially adopted as a part-time position, but in discussions with the Sheriff there was some discussion of sharing the cost of this position and sharing this position, something that I think is a good step forward. the front. “
During the monthly legislature committee meetings on June 15, Diamond asked the legislature to use part of a state criminal justice reform grant of $ 206,781 to pay for three new jobs. Diamond made his presentation to the county public safety committee, which did not object to the new jobs, but the county staff committee chose to file the applications. Ossenfort convinced the Legislature to put the full-time network systems administrator position back on Tuesday night’s agenda.
The cost to the network systems administrator may in the short term be paid for by the grant, Ossenfort said.
At committee meetings on June 15, District 9 lawmaker Robert Purtell raised the issue of the ongoing costs of creating new positions in the Diamond Department after the grant funding ran out, but acknowledged that the county had continual problems of not having enough information technology. staff.
“I know that when the district attorney was looking to have five computers installed in January, they sat on his floor because there was no one to install them,” he said.
Diamond said the first assistant district attorney position could serve as her back-up when she has to be in multiple locations simultaneously, and if the position is created, she would favor one of the county’s four full-time assistant district attorneys. – James Melita, Christina Pearson, Peter M. Califano or William Berger, each currently paid $ 78,000.
She said she would then like to hire a young attorney who has passed the New Jersey bar exam but has not yet passed the New York state bar exam, to serve as a legal clerk. full-time, who will receive a prorated base salary of $ 26,593. , plus benefits of $ 26,593. The coroner would be responsible for legal research and applying for state and federal grants available to help fund the operations of the county district attorney’s office. His hope would be that the lawyer would pass the state bar exam and be eligible to fill the vacant post of deputy district attorney opened by the promotion of one of the deputy district attorneys. The legislature approved the creation of a fourth full-time assistant prosecutor earlier this year.
Members of the county staff committee, including District 1 lawmaker Martin Kelly, said they had too many unanswered questions about how the positions would be funded and decided to file the applications.
Ossenfort said further discussions will be needed in July on the new positions Diamond requested.
“I think there will be a lot more information to come as we go along,” he said. “I think the district attorney also gets used to the process, gets used to our county procedures, to the civil service, things of that nature.”
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