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Eye On Boise

‘We can get so much more for the money’

State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey tells lawmakers Thursday that her agency could get far more work done for the same amount of money by hiring two attorneys, rather than paying high prices to hire outside lawyers. (Betsy Russell)
State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey tells lawmakers Thursday that her agency could get far more work done for the same amount of money by hiring two attorneys, rather than paying high prices to hire outside lawyers. (Betsy Russell)

State Appellate Public Defender Molly Huskey told JFAC  today that her office faces having to spend $140,000 for contract attorneys at $125 per hour for pending cases and hearings. "I would submit to this committee that there is a more efficient way to spend this money," Huskey said. Her proposal - and Gov. Butch Otter's recommendation - is to transfer the $140,000 from the operating budget to personnel, add an attorney and refund a vacant position. That'll give the office far more legal firepower than the $140,000 otherwise would have bought. "We can operate so much more efficiently and get so much more for the money that we're spending," Huskely told lawmakers. "We can get more work done in-house and decrease our price to the state."

All the attorneys in the agency already are taking one furlough day a month, Huskey said, including herself; that's causing some problems with Idaho Supreme Court hearing schedules. "Allowing us to have the flexibility to at least have some more attorneys in-house and not spending so much on our contract attorneys would allow us to at least keep ahead of the tidal wave," Huskey said. The proposal wouldn't increase the agency's budget; there would be no additional cost.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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