Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Compensation Board Conference Room
January 26, 2010
Council Members Present
Neil S. Vener (Campbell County)
Nancy G. Parr (Chesapeake)
Michael R. Doucette (Lynchburg)
David N. Grimes (Pittsylvania County)
Joel R. Branscom (Botetourt County)
Harvey L. Bryant (Virginia Beach)
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
S. Randolph Sengel (Alexandria)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Raymond F. Morrogh (Fairfax County)
Other Commonwealth's Attorneys Present
James R. Ennis (Prince Edward County)
Paul B. Ebert (Prince William County)
Nathan R. Green (Williamsburg/James City County)
E.M. Wright (Buckingham County)
Richard E. Trodden (Arlington/Falls Church)
Matthew J. Britton (King George County)
Linda D. Curtis (Hampton)
Stephanie Maddox (Amherst County)
Eileen Addison (York/ Poquoson)
Robert L. Bushnell (Henry County)
Patricia T. Watson (Greensville/Emporia)
Wade A. Kizer (Henrico County)
Gregory D. Underwood (Norfolk)
E.M. Wright, Jr. (Buckingham County)
C. Phil Ferguson (Suffolk)
Michael Hurd (Middlesex County)
Tracy Thorne-Begland, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney (Richmond)
Robin M. de Socio, Executive Secretary (Virginia Compensation Board)
CASC Staff Present
Robert Q. Harris
Lisa O. Hillman
Call to Order
Mr. Vener called the meeting to order at 11:07 a.m.
Consideration of the Minutes
The draft minutes of the December 3, 2009 meeting, previously had been posted and circulated to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Mr. Vener welcomed Council and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys to the meeting and deferred a Chairman’s report.
Mr. Harris addressed the agenda items.
Mr. Harris reminded Council that he serves at the pleasure of Council in his position as the Director and by statute (Virginia Code § 2.2-2619) is appointed by Council with the concurrence of the Governor. Council approved a motion that Mr. Harris’ appointment should be continued and to send a letter to the Governor seeking his concurrence in the appointment.
Spring Institute 2010: registration fee
Mr. Harris stated that CASC’s budget for the Spring Institute was reduced substantially by the budget cuts ordered by Governor Kaine for the current fiscal year. CASC has grant funds available to partially fund some written materials and one of three training tracks. In order to cover the cost of the Spring Institute, CASC staff has cut non-essential expenses, but still lacks sufficient appropriated funds to cover all expenses. Mr. Harris asked Council to authorize CASC to charge a registration fee of no more than $30 to help cover the program’s cost, including a written binder. Mr. Harris stated that CASC is arranging to have credit card payments accepted for on-line registration. Council discussed whether alternative programs were available for prosecutors to obtain CLE credits elsewhere. Several prosecutors have indicated they can attend the Criminal Law Seminar, and get 6 CLE hours for $95. A motion was approved to allow CASC to charge a $30 registration fee for the 2010 Spring Institute.
Spring Institute 2011 venue reconsidered
Mr. Harris reminded Council that it previously had approved siting the 2011 Spring Institute based on the lowest bid, including all costs to attendees. Given the current uncertainties in the budget for CASC and local Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ offices, Mr. Harris recommended that Council reconsider the venue for the 2011 Spring Institute. Mr. Harris expressed concern that CASC would be obligated to guarantee a contract to occupy 400 rooms, and that attendance numbers were likely to be reduced with the present condition of the economy. Mr. Harris stated that a smaller assembly for the 2011 Spring Institute must be anticipated. A motion was approved to delay a final decision regarding the location for the 2011 Spring Institute until the next Council meeting, and CASC staff will seek additional bids from current bidders and expand the search to other possible venues to seek lower program costs.
New Program 2010: Insurance Fraud
Mr. Harris stated that an Insurance Fraud program will take place in Williamsburg in the fall of 2010. Mr. Harris deferred to Mr. Bushnell to describe his work to encourage outside funding for this new program and how it would be arranged. Funding for the course comes from a special fund maintained by the Virginia State Police from fees charged on insurance policies issued in Virginia. Mr. Bushnell stated that the Insurance Fraud course is projected as a 4 ½ day program in Williamsburg. There will be 16 LEO/private insurance investigator/ prosecutor teams. This program will follow a “TopGun” / Trial Ad model that is familiar to CASC and prosecutors. Attendees will only have to pay for mileage. Mr. Bushnell asked that all Commonwealth’s Attorneys consider attending or have someone in their office attend.
There being no further business before Council, the meeting adjourned at 11:27 a.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting of Council is Thursday, February 18, 2010, 11:00 a.m. at the Compensation Board Conference Room in Richmond.