Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Henrico County Sheriff’s Conference Room
October 2, 2008
Council Members Present
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Robert B. Beasley (Powhatan County)
John R. Doyle, III (Norfolk)
William F. Neely (Spotsylvania County)
Nancy G. Parr (Chesapeake)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington County)
Raymond F. Morrogh (Fairfax County)
Kim S. White (Halifax County)
Other Commonwealth's Attorneys Present
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Daniel M. Chichester (Stafford County)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
Paul Ebert (Prince William County)
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
John C. Singleton (Bath County)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Wade A. Kizer (Henrico County)
R. Michael McKenney (Northumberland County)
CASC Staff Present
Call to Order
Mr. Branscom called the meeting to order at 11:09 a.m..
Consideration of the minutes
Mr. Branscom moved for the acceptance of the July 31, 2008 and August 3, 2008, minutes from the 2008 VACA Annual Meeting. The motion was seconded, and the minutes were approved unanimously.
Mr. Branscom deferred a report.
Mr. Harris advised that the prospect of major budget cuts for the agency means that the agency is reducing costs wherever it can. Mr. Harris advised Council of proposed strategies for budget cuts of 5%, 10%, and 15%. The amount of cuts is not known yet.
For this Council meeting, the agendas, attachments and prior minutes, all were circulated by email in advance of the meeting. For future meetings, CASC will email materials in advance of the meeting and have only a few hard copies on hand at the meeting. Mr. Harris encouraged Council members who preferred paper materials to print copies to bring with them to meetings. At Mr. Vener’s request, materials will be sent as pdf files.
Mr. Harris reviewed the training topics selected by the Curriculum Committee for the Executive Program, Spring Institute and Annual Meeting. Currently, these 3 programs and Gang training are the only CASC training programs funded by state general funds. All other CASC training is funded by grants. Mr. Harris advised Council about grants CASC is seeking that may be available to provide some additional funding support for the large, general fund programs.
Concerning the Executive Program, Mr. Harris advised that the program is being stripped to bare bones and still might not be within CASC’s budget after budget cuts are finalized; he suggested consideration of a fee for attendees. After discussion of options and charging a fee for the program, successive motions were approved to eliminate the Friday luncheon (Mr. Chichester moved; Mr. Doucette seconded), eliminate binders (Mr. Doucette moved; Mr. Vener seconded), and eliminate speaker fees and travel and lodging reimbursements for Commonwealth’s Attorneys on the program. (Mr. Doucette moved; Mr. Trodden seconded).
Program materials will be provided digitally to registered attendees in advance of the meeting in a pdf format and printed at the option of attendees. Speakers will be selected to minimize any costs. Discussion concerning whether to eliminate the program altogether; Mr. Harris pointed out that the contract with the hotel would cost Council in penalties for cancelling the room block.
Concerning fees, Mr. Harris will calculate out the precise costs of a stripped down Executive program and determine whether CASC can absorb these costs without a fee, or how much a registration fee should be to cover the costs, before opening registration for the program. Mr. Trodden moved to charge a registration fee, if necessary, that will be no more than $50 and Mr. Doucette seconded the motion. The motion that CASC may charge a registration fee to attend the 2008 Executive Program that will not exceed $50 per registrant was passed unanimously.
Mr. Harris stated that CASC has been awarded a grant from the Department of Justice as part of the Capital Case Litigation Initiative. A free-standing training program is planned and additional training as part of the Spring Institute also is an option.
Mr. Harris also stated that CASC has the opportunity to create a Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) position with funding available from NHTSA through the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators. This would not be an additional employee slot for CASC but would cover half the costs of an existing FTE position with non general funds. A grant would provide $37,500 a year for 2 years; CASC would use the grant to establish and fund a half-time TSRP, and existing funds would cover the remainder of the position. The TSRP will be responsible for the DUI training program – CASC’s most demanded program – as well as other traffic safety educational and information responsibilities. A motion to pursue the grant was passed unanimously.
Mr. Harris stated that at this time each locality pays Dick Whetstone’s lodging and per diem in connection with their updates and installations. Mr. Whetstone now will be including his mileage in the cost of travel.
VSDVAA Cooperative Agreement Proposal
The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance has asked for Council to work with them on a statewide project supporting sexual assault crisis centers. After discussion about whether this should be a VACA issue as it addressed policy, Mr. Harris was asked to contact VSDVAA and offer to arrange a VACA representative.
Mr. Harris advised Council of the status of upcoming programs. DCJS is funding the Asset Forfeiture program. Mr. Branscom asked if DCJS can fund part of the Executive Program that addresses Asset Forfeiture training.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:28 p.m.. The next Council meeting will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at the Henrico Sheriff’s Office Conference Room.