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PUBLIC DEFENDER PRESSES FOR CASEWORKER POSITION

Wyoming County's Public Defender Tuesday made a case to restore funding in 2003 for a caseworker in his office.

Norman Effman, county public defender, said restoration of the $19,000-a-year position will allow the office to take on criminal matters for families who did not meet poverty guidelines for legal representation, but who cannot afford legal representation from a private attorney during lengthy cases.

He said neighboring Genesee County has been able to generate an additional $4,000 to $5,000 in department revenue from expanding such services in its public defender's office.

Effman said the office was able to generate $27,000 to $30,000 in revenues in 2002 because the caseworker was in place. He said only $25,000 was initially expected to be generated in 2002.

Effman argued last month that revenues for the office could decrease drastically if the caseworker position did not remain.

"We need a person to do the secretarial work," Effman said. "We need a person to do the tracking."

Supervisors suggested that the caseworker be responsible for the potential billings tied to the new proposal.

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