Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Services Council
Henrico Sheriff’s Office
June 6, 2018
Council Members Present
Patricia T. Watson (Greensville Co./Emporia), Chairman
Jeffrey W. Haislip (Fluvanna County), Second Vice Chairman
James E. Plowman (Loudoun County), Secretary
Council District Representatives:
6. David L. Ledbetter (Waynesboro)
8. Bryan L. Porter (Alexandria)
9. Charles H. Slemp, III (Wise County)
10. Marc H. Abrams (Winchester)
Other Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Present
Donald S. Caldwell (Roanoke City)
E. M. Wright (Buckingham County)
John L. Mahoney (Caroline County)
Holly Smith (Gloucester County)
Colin D. Stolle (Virginia Beach)
Anton A. Bell (Hampton)
Gregory D. Underwood (Norfolk)
C. Phillips Ferguson (Suffolk)
Susan O. Fierro (Prince George County)
Darrel W. Puckett (Appomattox County)
Marcia L. Garst (Rockingham County/Harrisonburg)
Theresa J. Royall (Nottoway County)
Shannon L. Taylor (Henrico County)
Theo K. Stamos (Arlington County)
Christian E. Rehak (Radford)
Nelson Bunn, Executive Director, NDAA
Robyn DeSocio, Executive Secretary, Compensation Board
CASC Staff Present
Jane Sherman Chambers
Call to Order
Ms. Watson called the meeting to order at 12:07 p.m.
The draft minutes from the May 9, 2018, meeting were previously posted and circulated to Council. The minutes were approved as submitted.
Ms. Watson stated that she did not have a report, but deferred to Robyn DeSocio from the Comp Board. Ms. DeSocio gave a short presentation, during which she reviewed what the Comp Board is and what they do. She reported that the budget process has been delayed this year but she expects her report to come out the end of next week. The Comp Board’s budget meeting will be on Wednesday, June 13. The budget as passed by the General Assembly includes 2% raises for FY2020. No career funding was included, although attrition will help career funding candidates who are on the waiting list. She reported that currently 234 people are in the program with 29 ACA’s eligible. Ms. DeSocio reported that staffing standards have not always been a VACA priority because they were focused on obtaining more career funding, but she noted that there are 102 unfilled assistant and 50 unfilled support staff positions. The Comp Board has had full staffing as their priority, observing that it has been 10 years since Commonwealth’s Attorneys were at full staffing. Ms. DeSocio also reported that in FY18 Norfolk and Richmond got insurance fraud prosecutors. It looks like the FY19 budget will provide for two more, one in Salem and one in Arlington. There may be one more in FY2020. Finally, Ms. DeSocio raised the issue of the body worn camera (BWC) study that her office is being tasked with completing. This study came in lieu of Sen. Norment’s budget amendment requiring localities to fund 1 entry level prosecutor for every 50 BWCs. A final report is due on Dec. 1, 2018, but it first has to get through the Comp Board by their last meeting in November. Because there is so little time they may have to do an interim report, instead, and ask for more time. Mr. Stolle advised that the Comp Board is not staffed to do this kind of study and that this will impose a heavy burden on them. Ms. Watson assured Ms. DeSocio that we would help in any way we can.
Ms. Chambers reviewed the agenda items:
2018 Spring Institute Final Expenses
Ms. Chambers reported on the final cost of the 2018 Spring Institute, including reimbursements to Commonwealth’s Attorneys Offices for travel, lodging, meals & parking. She noted that 7 offices did not submit for reimbursement. Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Underwood expressed their concern that their staff could not get mileage reimbursement because their offices are within 30 miles of the venue. Ms. Chambers responded that this is a state regulation that her office has to follow.
W&M Temporary Transfer Agreement (TTA) Update
Ms. Chambers reported that she has seen a draft of the TTA. It will first go to W&M to sign and then it will be sent over for her signature.
Richmond Office & Meeting Space Rental Update
Ms. Chambers reported that this issue is still on hold pending the completion of the TTA. She does not know if the previously available office suites are still available. The Dept. of General Services is responsible for keeping up with that part of the process.
Report from the CASC Finance Committee Meeting
Mr. Wright reported that the Finance Committee met in Lynchburg on May 19, 2018, after the conclusion of the Executive Retreat. The committee recommends that CASC request the maximum appropriation amount of 6%, noting that what is not spent stays in the account drawing interest. He recommended that this be the default position of Council each year, unless the committee recommends otherwise. Ms. Taylor asked what happens if there is an economic downturn. Mr. Wright emphasized that this policy could always be revisited. Mr. Ledbetter moved that Council authorize the full 6% each year, unless it is brought back before Council for reconsideration. Mr. Slemp seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Mr. Ferguson asked about how much of the CATF is being spent. Ms. Chambers referred him to the current CATF statement. He inquired if more CATF funds could be spent on the annual summer conference to encourage attendance. Ms. Watson replied that this is all part of a larger discussion that includes re-vamping Spring Institute. Mr. Ferguson asked why CASC does not reimburse mileage for its smaller training programs. Ms. Chambers responded that it is a budgeting issue. Because attendees can come from anywhere in the state, the mileage reimbursement each year is entirely unpredictable and impossible to accurately budget for. Mileage reimbursement can be extremely expensive. Mr. Wright reminded members that this CATF funding is not endless and Mr. Haislip cautioned against offices zeroing out their travel budgets.
2018 Appellate and Legislative Updates for Law Enforcement
Ms. Chambers reported that she and Mr. Casey are working on the 2018 Legislative & Appellate Updates and hopes to have them done next week. She will forward them to everyone to use in their local law enforcement trainings.
2018 CASC Faculty Award Nominations
Ms. Chambers circulated an award nomination memo from her office staff. She reported that no other nominations have been received. A motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed to present the 2018 CASC Faculty Awards to Evie Eastman of Arlington, Tom Shaia of Suffolk and Amy Stinnette of Chesapeake.
2018 Annual Summer Conference Update
Ms. Chambers circulated a draft of the agenda for the annual summer conference. She also reported on the current registration numbers.
Future of Spring Institute
Ms. Watson stated that Spring Institute currently is scheduled to be in Norfolk through 2021. She shared concerns that were expressed at the Executive Retreat from Tidewater Commonwealth’s Attorneys regarding the inability of their offices to travel to Spring Institute and experience the camaraderie that comes from such a trip. The idea of having 2 separate, but similar trainings, was discussed but that has a lot of inherent difficulties, including cost, and may not solve the problem. Ms. Watson announced that she will form a committee to look at this issue. She will ask them to report back at the December Council meeting.
There being no further business before Council, the meeting adjourned at 1:09 p.m. The next regularly scheduled meeting is August 2, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Waterfront Hotel in Virginia Beach.