Jury clerk sought

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira, concerned about supervision of grand jurors, wants to hire a clerk to manage them.

Sira spoke to the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee on Monday about a need for someone to supervise grand juries on days there are staff shortages in her office. The committee gave its temporary approval – pending full board approval Feb. 10 – for the four-day-per-month position.

Sira requested creation of a $12.15-per-hour, per-diem position. She put the total annual cost at $4,902. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in the basement of the County Office Building.

“We need a person assigned to be in the building and manage the grand jurors,” Sira said. “We can’t have them unsupervised.”

Sira said her office’s legal steno, Toni Orr, helps with grand jury clerk duties at no extra compensation.

“She’s working out of her title,” Sira said. “That’s a whole other issue.”

Civil-service rules discourage that situation.

Sira said at any given time during grand jury proceedings, 23 jurors are required to stay at the County Office Building, and they have various needs.

Sira said the new grand jury clerk would help with the empanelment and assembly of the jury, take attendance and prepare paperwork. She said the clerk would help Sira and her staff with the monitoring of witnesses, answering telephones, scheduling, typing, mailing and copying.

“I don’t think it’s a tremendous amount of money for the safety factor,” Sira said. “It think it’s smart business.”