Legislator Steven Havey sponsors the new law, creating the new office
By Andrew Harris
The county top brass have already voted to hold a public hearing on the creation of this new office. The law which creates that the Office of the The Conflict Defender, requires a public hearing which is set for November 23 in Belmont. Here is that offical notice:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held before the Allegany County Board of Legislators in the County Legislative Chambers, Room 221, County Office Building, 7 Court Street, Belmont, New York 14813, on November 23, 2022, commencing at 2:00 p.m. in connection with a proposed local law, entitled ” A Local Law Establishing The Office of The Conflict Defender in The County of Allegany.” A copy is available for viewing at www.alleganyco.com.*
Legislator from District 4(Wellsville/Andover) Steven Havey, brought the proposal to the board and they embraced the idea on a few levels. It appears that the new office will streamline the work of providing a counsel to indigent people. We asked Havey a few questions about the new, “OCD” office:
Has Allegany County encountered an issue with indigent populations ?
Havey: Yes, we have had some issues in providing representation to some defendants because of conflicts and prior interaction with available attorneys in the Public Defender’s office. When that happens we reach outside our own orbit and select Assigned Counsel. This is costly, inefficient and does not provide prompt representation for the defendant. Assigned Counsel would now be the last choice in conflicts.
How many staff would be needed to manage the office ? Any estimated increase in payroll ?
Havey: The office, most likely, would be staffed with a mixture of full time and part time attorneys (3) and a secretary. This would be actually cheaper and more efficient than Assigned Counsel.
Will this create a new department head or will it fall under a larger existing county department ?
Havey: It is my understanding that the Office of Conflict Defender would be under the Public Defender’s Office and not creating another department head.
*A search of the site for this proposed new law comes up empty.