Public defender lands grant

JOHNSTOWN – The state has informed Fulton County Public Defender Gerard McAuliffe that his office has received a roughly $300,000 grant, much of which will be used to shore up personnel.

“This was a competitive grant, statewide,” McAuliffe told the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee last week at the County Office Building.

McAuliffe applied for a grant in October, and said he was informed the state Office of Indigent Legal Services has approved the grant amounting to $99,833 per year for three years.

The committee approved accepting the state grant, also known as an Upstate Quality Improvement and Caseload Reduction Grant, for the years 2014-16. The full board must approve the final resolution Feb. 10.

McAuliffe requested the funding be allocated in numerous ways, including $60,000 being earmarked for the position of full-time assistant public defender assigned to Fulton County Family Court. His office currently has five assistant public defenders. Other smaller amounts will include $15,000 to supplement the annual $25,883 salary of Assistant Public Defender Allen R. Day.

McAuliffe said he has made it clear to his staff that if funding doesn’t continue for personnel areas, it would not immediately be replaced by county funding.

Other funding from the grant will include: $4,800 to be paid in increments of $400 per month for reimbursement of secretarial services; equipment – $1,000; copier – $550; postage – $550; telephone – $550; and supplies – $550.

“Is there that much workload in Fulton County that we need more public defenders in Fulton County than we have?” asked committee Chairman William Waldron.

McAuliffe answered yes, adding that new grant funds are being used to supplement existing county funding and not replace them.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at