County looks to cut costs with juvenile center

KINGMAN - The county will soon have a new Office of Juvenile Representation. The Board of Supervisors approved creating the new office during its meeting Monday.

Ever since the county reorganized departments, it has been looking at other ways of cutting costs, said County Manager Ron Walker. Creating the Office of Juvenile Representation is a way to cut costs, he said.

The County Public Defender's Office runs into a number of cases each year where it is requested to defend parents from criminal child neglect charges while representing their children in a dependency case, said Deputy County Manager of Criminal Justice Services Dana Hlavac. This causes a conflict of interest for the office. The dependency cases are usually farmed out to attorneys contracted by the county, he said.

Creating a separate office to handle juvenile delinquency, dependency and adoption cases would eliminate some of that conflict and save the county nearly $100,000, Hlavac said.

The four attorneys, an investigator and a secretary needed to staff the new office could be drawn from the Public Defender's Office, he said. Supervisor Buster Johnson asked if the county couldn't just eliminate the four attorneys, investigator and the secretary positions and save the same amount of money.

The county might be able to eliminate one attorney and save the same amount, but not three, Hlavac said. Three of the attorneys that he would move into the new office were already working on juvenile cases.

County Finance Director John Timko agreed.

The Board then approved the creation of the new office and the expenditure of approximately $35,000 to improve an existing county facility to hold the office. It is unclear where the new office would be located.

One possible location would be inside the current County Attorney's Civil Division Office in the County Administration Building.