Peoria County board members want a close look at public defender contract

Oct 14, 2013

Some Peoria County board members want to change the way the county selects its public defender attorney. The 10th Judicial Circuit Judges have used the same public defender for decades, without bidding out the service. The County Board then pays the costs for the 29 assistant public defenders. County Board member Andrew Rand says he supports effectively bidding out the service:

 “We bid everything here, and where we don’t we have very special rules and very special exceptions.  But no contracts to my knowledge have ever run this long without being subject to extensive review and re-design,” Rand says.

 Rand says the County also needs to know how many hours a week the public defenders work to measure the efficiency of the service. The County is paying $1.5 million for this year’s contract. That pays for the 30 part-time public and assistant public defenders. Previous contracts have also included annual five-percent cost increases. County officials say that’s more than double national cost index