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Orleans County Public Defender Sandy Church asked county legislators for some assistance Wednesday.

He said creating the post of assistant public defender will cost about $30,000, with benefits, if approved. He said the position is needed because of an increasing office caseload, as well as the new county drug court.

Church said the public defender's office handles 800 cases in Orleans County each year. The district attorney's office dealt with an estimated 1,200 cases last year, he said.

He said the assistant is needed to help cover an additional night of court in the Town of Clarendon, as well.

Currently, there are four attorneys used by the public defender's office.

Church said that existing county funds could be used to fund the new position and urged that the post be approved by legislators as soon as possible.

"This is the right time to ask," Church said. "I need the help as soon as I can get it."

Marcia B. Tuohey, board chairwoman, asked that benefits be included in the $30,000 package. She said the matter will be discussed next when the Legislature meets at 4:30 p.m. April 27.

In other business, James Graziano was introduced by legislators as the new director of community services and mental health. Graziano, a Grand Island resident, is a former vice president of client services for Gateway-Longview.

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