Commonwealth’s Attorney Services Council
Compensation Board Conference Room
February 21, 2008
Council Members Present
Harvey L. Bryant, III (Virginia Beach)
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
S. Randolph Sengel (Alexandria)
John R. Doyle, III (Norfolk)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Wade A. Kizer (Henrico County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Alexander R. Iden (Winchester)
Other Commonwealth's Attorneys Present
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Charles S. Sharp (Fredericksburg)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
James E. Plowman (Loudoun County)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward)
Dean Atkins (Westmoreland County)
CASC Staff Present
Robert Q. Harris
Lisa O. Hillman
Call to Order
Mr. Bryant called the meeting to order at 11:11 a.m.
Consideration of the Minutes
The minutes of the January meeting were adopted as drafted unanimously.
Loan Forgiveness Update:
Mr. Harris reported that the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007 was in conference after passing both houses of Congress. The Attorney General is to establish a program to assume the obligation to repay loans of prosecutors and public defenders, who are not in default, and remain so employed for 3 years. The program will cover up to $10, 00 per year and an aggregate of $60,000. CASC will provide additional information as it becomes available.
Registrations for Spring Institute already are over 650 and over 500 have registered for the luncheon. Dr. Marcella Fierro will speak and the Von Schuch Award will be announced. Mr. Doyle described the activities available in Norfolk. Mr. Plowman reported that the Tidewater Tides baseball team will have home dates during Spring Institutes.
CASC Representative for DCJS:
DCJS has asked Council to recommend a representative for a working committee that will review in March or April the results of the DCJS focus groups and identify issues for the criminal justice plan for the Commonwealth in May and June. No volunteer was forthcoming in the absence of specific dates for meetings.
Mr. Bryant updated Council on the budget developments in the General Assembly. The House Appropriations Committee recommended consolidating CASC into the Attorney General’s Office, giving the Office of the Attorney General 3 employees and 50% of CASC’s budget. There was no warning that CASC was on the chopping block, and neither the Attorney General nor Secretary of Public Safety’s office knew about the cuts. Council’s legislative team and the Attorney General also are working to turn the budget issue around.
Several Members reported discussions with legislators and related that no member had initiated the action; likely it was from committee staff; and legislative leadership indicated that the cuts could be reversed.
Mr. Sharp recounted that previous efforts to “consolidate” CASC all were rejected after it was shown that Council provided better training and at lower cost than any “consolidated agency.”
Mr. Bryant thanked all Commonwealth’s Attorneys who had contacted legislators on behalf of CASC. Mr. Bryant indicated that he had copied the CASC Fact Sheet to be forwarded to all General Assembly members. Mr. Plowman moved for Council to authorize the letter and fact sheet; Mr. Doyle seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 12:01 p.m. The next regularly scheduled Council meeting is 1:00 p.m., Sunday, April 6, 2008, at the Marriott Norfolk Waterside.