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Judge seeks conflict counselors

DIXON – Now that Anna Sacco-Miller has been elected Lee County state’s attorney, she no longer can represent defendants in cases in which the county’s Public Defender’s Office had a conflict of interest.

She must be replaced, Lee County Circuit Judge Ronald Jacobson told the county’s executive committee Thursday.

The county might have a hard time hiring new conflict counselors, though, for the low amount of pay she accepted, he said.

Sacco-Miller was paid $3,000 a year for handling juvenile and felony cases, which was “a tremendous bargain” for the county, Jacobson said.

He has decided to divvy up those responsibilities between two people, one for felonies and one for juveniles. Rather than being paid hourly, he would like the new conflict counselors to be contracted, which would be less expensive, he said.

The judge may appoint people to the positions and pay them at his discretion, without board approval, Chairman Rick Ketchum said.

The executive committee also learned that the 17-year-old microphone system in the County Board meeting room has died.

On Nov. 27, the board voted not to spend $43,000 on a new microphone and voting system, with several board members saying they could not justify the expense.

It has since received bids for a new microphone system, the lowest of which is $32,500.

Board member Dick Binder said Thursday that he recognizes the need for a new microphone system, but wants to buy an economical one.

“We’re in the position when we need to do something, but I don’t think we need a Cadillac when a Chevy will get us around town,” he said.       

The board will rent a system for its Tuesday meeting, where it will vote on bids for a new system.

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