Office of the State Appellate Defender reviews proposed budget
The Office of the State Appellate Defender met March 23 to review the proposed 2017 budget.
Here are the meeting's minutes, as provided by the agency:
"The Office of the State Appellate Defender is a state agency created by the State Appellate Defender Act (725 Illinois Compiled Statutes, Act 105). The principal function of the Office of the State Appellate Defender is to represent indigent persons on appeal in criminal cases when appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, the Appellate Court or the Circuit Court."
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE OFrICE OF THE STATE APPELLATE DEFENDER
March 23, 2016 9:30 a.m.
Via Teleconference Call
The following matters were addressed at the March 23, 2016, meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Office of the State Appellate Defender.
Present via teleconference -Board Members: Thomas Breen, Judge A.C. Cunningham, Jr• Gary P_. D:~hbs, Jl~stice Tames K. Dor_ovar., and Rebecca Janowitz. Absent - K_im D. Campbell, Justice R. Peter Grometer, Justice Michael Toomin, and Kathryn Saltmarsh
Present via teleconference -Agency Staff: Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender; David P. Bergschneider, Deputy State Appellate Defender, James E. Chadd, Deputy State Appellate Defender; Tonya Janecek, Chief Fiscal Officer and Human Resource Director; and Sue Ryan, Senior Administrative Assistant. Absent: Laura A. Weiler, Director of Training
Chairman Thomas Breen called the meeting to order and thanked former Commissioner Judge Dennis Middendorff for his years of service on the Board of Commissioners of the Office of the State Appellate Defender. Chairman Breen then welcomed Judge Middendorff's successor, Justice James K. Donovan, to the Board.
A motion to approve the minutes of the February 20, 2015, Board meeting was made by Judge A. C. Cunningham and seconded by Rebecca Janowitz. The minutes were approved unanimously.
A. Report for the First Six Months of Fiscal Year 2016
State Appellate Defender Michael J. Pelletier reported on the activities of the Agency for the first six months of Fiscal Year 2016:
* The agency has been in a unique situation during the first six month period. While appointments remained steady at around 3000 a year, the backlog continued to increase due to attorney vacancies.
*There was no Board meeting in September as there was no budget to approve. The agency is currently operating under a Continuing Appropriation Order based on the FY-15 budget.
*In the beginning of the Fiscal Year 2016, no vacancies were filled, but with a growing backlog, it was imperative that staff be hired. On November 1, 2015, twenty attorney vacancies were filled.
*There are currently 8 or 9 vacancies that will not be filled.
*Training continued in Fiscal Year 2016. In conjunction with the Illinois Public Defender Association, aone-day seminar was held in July in Springfield in addition to the 2015 Illinois Public Defender Association Fall Seminar in October which was also held in Springfield.
*The Illinois Supreme Court reappointed Michael J. Pelletier for another four year term expiring on December 31, 2019.
B. Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017
State Appellate Defender Michael Pelletier submitted the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2017 in the amount of $21,780,211 which represents a decrease of $119,989 over the FY2016 budget request.
This budget request will provide for the following:
• To be fully staffed;
• Increase the pay plan for all titles;
• Continuation of the Public Defender Training Program;
• Implementation of the Juvenile Defender Resource Center;
• Implementation of the Law Student Intern Program;
• Implementation of a Rural Defense Services Project via an inter-agency agreement with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
Mr. Pelletier mentioned that he and Chief Fiscal Officer Tonya Janecek appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee in early March. In years past, the funding for the Juvenile Defender Resource Center and the Law Student Intern Program has been cut.
Mr. Pelletier also spoke about the Rural Defense Services Project for mostly downstate Public Defenders. This would provide the assistance of expert witnesses and investigators from funds appropriated to this agency through an inter-agency agreement with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and approved by the legislature. Funding would not come from the State of Illinois.
If the Governor and legislature approve a budget for FY-2016, a Board meeting via conference call would need to be held to seek Board approval of an operating budget for the agency.
A motion to approve the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 was made by Justice James Donovan and seconded by Gary Dobbs. The motion was unanimously approved.
Judge Dennis Middendorff most recently held the position of Board secretary until his term expired. With this vacancy, a new secretary was needed, and Commissioner Gary Dobbs was elected to this post.
The date for the next meeting of the Board of Commissioners was set for Friday, September 23, 2016, to be held in the First District office in Chicago at 9:30 a.m.
There being no further business, a motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Judge A.C. Cunningham, Jr. and seconded by Rebecca Janowitz. The motion was approved unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.
A. Dobbs Secretary