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Davison Co. public defenders get new contracts

Two local law firms have renewed indigent defender contracts with Davison County.

Tuesday morning at a regular meeting at the courthouse, the Davison County commissioners approved an agreement with Tinan, Smith and Bucher law firm as the county’s primary public defender and Stiles, Papendick and Kiner law firm as the supplemental defender.

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The firms, both of Mitchell, had expiring contracts at the end of the year. They will represent defendants who need a court-appointed attorney.

“We’re paying a set contract rate and that amount is under what the billable hours would be,” said commissioner Randy Reider, explaining there’s an $84 an hour set rate for public defenders who are appointed by the court. “This is a savings for the county.

“We looked at the last four years, and it would have saved about $62,000 some years, and there were years it saved as much as $140,000. It all depends on how many cases there would be. If you look at how many total hours they have spent, it was above every year. There wasn’t a year where the amount billed would have been less than the contract.”

Tinan, Smith and Bucher will be paid $145,000 in the first year of the agreement, and yearly compensation will increase $5,000 so the final year the firm will be paid $160,000. The new contract begins Jan. 1, 2014, starting the 24th consecutive year the firm is the county’s primary public defender.

“We’ve held this contract since January 1, 1991,” said E. Steeves Smith, a partner at Tinan, Smith and Bucher who represented the firm Tuesday. “Throughout that time we’ve learned a lot and become efficient at it. We have a very well-trained staff, and you won’t find a better staff in any law office in town to handle it and keep track of the records.”

Tinan, Smith and Bucher’s previous four-year contract with the county earned the firm a base fee of $530,000. The new four-year contract will earn the firm a base fee of $610,000.

Stiles, Papendick and Kiner — which was Stiles & Papendick before July 1 — was paid a total of $208,000 for its most recent four-year term. The previous agreement started the firm at a $49,000 base pay with $2,000 annual salary increments for four years. The new agreement with Stiles, Papendick and Kiner will be $55,000 annually with no annual salary increments to total $220,000 for four years.

Other Business

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Sat as the board of adjustment and granted a conditional use permit for a saw sharpening service for Jay Christensen at 40991 256th St., Mitchell.
  • Approved the purchase of a 1994 chip spreader from Beadle County for $20,000 for the Highway Department.
  • Approved the purchase of eight used tires for $1,700 to put on the surplus loaders that will be sold in January.
  • Approved a purchase for a snowplow — which includes the plow, mounts, lights, controls and mounting — from Larry’s I-90 Service for $5,349.68 for the Maintenance Department.
  • Set a 5 p.m. Nov. 4 deadline for bids to be turned in for the sale of four surplus items, including: a 1994 Ford F250 4X4 with a Western snow plow and 91,237 miles; a 2002 Chevrolet Astro LS Extended minivan with 164,698 miles; a 1995 Ford Explorer XL 4X4 with 137,079 miles; and a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with 171,722 miles.
  • Heard a quarterly report from Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery and passed a local emergency operations plan and a pre-disaster mitigation plan.