The Peoria County Board approved a public defender contract for Joel Brown. He starts July 1st. Brown assumes the post following financial questions surrounding former longtime public defender, Thomas Penn. County officials say the new public defender service is set to save tens-of-thousands-of-dollars a year. The Board also approved converting a part-time Veterans Assistance position to full-time. Officials say this will help the County process veteran benefit applications. The County has seen 10,000 applications so far this year.