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MINUTES
Commonwealth’s Attorneys Services Council
Norfolk Waterside Marriott – Spring Institute
March 29, 2009

Council members
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Robert B. Beasley (Powhatan County)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington /Falls Church)
Raymond F. Morrogh (Fairfax County)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Kim S. White (Halifax County)
Alexander R. Iden (Winchester)
Nancy G. Parr (Chesapeake)
Michael Herring (Richmond)
William F. Neely (Spotsylvania County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Claiborne H. Stokes, Jr. (Goochland County)

Other Commonwealth’s Attorney
Jonathan Lynn (Fauquier County)
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Eileen M. Addison (York County/Poquoson)
Daniel M. Chichester (Stafford County)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Patricia T. Watson (Greensville County/Emporia)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
John C. Singleton (Bath County)
Wade Kizer (Henrico County)
Tamara Neo (Buchanan County)
William Bray (Colonial Heights)
Robert Joyce (Rockbridge County/Lexington)

CASC Staff Present
Robert Q. Harris
Lisa O. Hillman
Tracey A. Debord

Special Guess
Mary Rohas, Auditor of Public Accounts
Pete Marone, Department of Forensic Science

Call to Order
Mr. Branscom called the meeting to order at 1:00p.m.

Consideration of the Minutes
The minutes have been posted on line and distributed to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.

Chairman’s Report
Mr. Branscom deferred his Chairman’s report.

Auditor of Public Accounts Report to Council
Mr. Harris introduced Ms. Mary Rohas, project manager on the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council audit for FY2007 and FY2008. Ms. Rohas stated that a new procedure requires the auditor to report findings from the audit to the governing board of an agency. Ms. Rohas, reviewed the audit plan and scope and stated that CASC was assessed for accuracy in financial transactions, internal controls, and compliance with applicable laws and regulation.   The auditors reported no issues with CASC’s financial operations within the scope of the audit.

CASC Budget FY2010 reductions
Mr. Harris stated that the CASC budget cuts identified by the Governor were continued by the General Assembly for FY2010. CASC is still required to make @ 10% budget cuts that will take approximately $75,000 out of the FY2010 budget. Mr. Harris reviewed the agency measures to satisfy the budget cuts that previously were provided to Council.  Belt-tightening in administrative expenses and cutting the amount spent on CASC programs provides the bulk of the cuts.  No CASC programs are being eliminated although cuts are made in every program.  The most noticeable changes will be in the reduction of food and snacks at the major conferences.  For example, coffee and beverages are provided during breaks at the Spring Institute, but no luncheon or continental breakfasts.

Top Gun
The Byrne grant funding for the Top Gun program has expired. Mr. Harris reviewed several potential funding sources for 2009 including the potential for asset forfeiture funding and funding a scaled down version for 2009 based on other CASC office savings.

Homicide Program
Mr. Harris stated that to date CASC has received 72 registrations for this program. Only 48 will be accepted. Applications for this program must be submitted to CASC by April 1, 2009, and the faculty will choose students on April 14, 2009.

Trial Advocacy
Mr. Harris stated that there still are openings to attend Trial Advocacy.

Annual Meeting
Mr. Harris stated that due to local office budget cuts, attendance may be down for the Annual Meeting. Mr. Harris asked Commonwealth’s Attorneys to notify Jane Chambers if their offices are expecting to be unable to attend the 2009 Annual Meeting so that we might adjust the rooms and meals needed for that program.

 

Legal Research update
Mr. Harris stated that the General Assembly budget cuts mean the Comp Board will not continue to fund Geronimo after July 1, 2009. Mr. Harris has asked other legal research services (Westlaw and Lexis) to send proposals to CASC hopefully to offer individual offices discounted rates. Mr. Harris stated that the proposals will not be a statewide contract. Each Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ office will have the opportunity to maintain a separate contract. Mr. Harris stated that he still is looking for sources that will fund the legal research contract. Mr. Harris stated that there is a program through the Virginia State Bar website called “FastCase” which is free to all attorneys. Mr. Harris stated that training for FastCase will be held at the 2009 Spring Institute.

New Business
Mr. Harris encouraged everyone to acknowledge Ms. Debord’s hard work on the audit. A motion  expressing Council’s appreciation passed unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT
The meeting adjourned at 1:30p.m. The next regularly scheduled Council meeting is 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at the Henrico Sheriff’s Conference Room.

 


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