The Lastest on the County Budget and Layoff Talk

No layoffs will hit this Office without a strong fight from the Union. We will fight to protect the public, our client’s rights to quality representation in the criminal justice system, and the jobs of all public defenders. As we who work here know, layoffs of public defenders would cripple an already teetering justice system: most of us already have case loads in excess of reasonable numbers, the push is on for these many cases to be adjudicated more quickly, and resources have never been sufficient to meet the needs of all our clients; and “tough on crime” legislators continue to enact laws with little regard to their financial impact on the criminal justice system. If we have learned one thing recently from the hundreds of wrongful convictions that have been discovered across the country, it is that more attention and resources need to be directed to the defense of criminal cases, not less resources and fewer attorneys.

This message is starting to get out already, as the Chicago Suntimes today acknowledged the economic irrationality of cutting public defenders who provide cost-effective representation to defendants: http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/index.html

Your Union Executive Board is constantly assessing this developing situation, and is working hard to show the impact of cuts to our already skeleton staff of attorneys and to develop a report in collaboration with AFSCME to present to the County Board.

All assistant public defenders should take the following step to stay informed: send your name and email address to brendan.max@cookcountypd.org. This will allow us to keep you in the information loop by allowing us to send you email alerts when important new information is posted on this site, and will allow us to provide you access to the “Members Only” section of this site should we need to post information there. It is our goal to quickly amass an email alert system that reaches every one of our members.

Prepare yourself for action. The Board cannot accomplish its goal of maintaining the current levels of staffing in the office without your help! When the time comes, you may be called to do your part and demonstrate in support of our jobs and our mission in the Office. That is why your email address is important to the Local and you!

By the way, no pink slips have been sent to anyone. The union never “negotiated” any layoffs as a part of contract negotiations. Whoever is spreading that rumor is misinformed and WRONG. Rather than listen to rumor, our members can obtain the most recent information on this developing situation from this site.

In the meantime, you may want to keep up on Todd Stroger’s new approach to County resources, such as commandeering a County elevator and restricting its future use to only providing a lift to him: http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/182943,CST-NWS-stroger22.article

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2 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2006 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Good luck guys. Don’t give an inch to these pricks.

  2. John D. McLauchlan
    Posted December 24, 2006 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Hang in there! Any PD anywhere who’s aware of your plight is no doubt behind you. We all have our tribulations with the budgetmeisters who are clueless as to the significance of what we do.

    John D. McLauchlan
    Supervisor-Juvenile Division
    Dallas County Public Defenders office

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