MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson’s budget presentation last week saw no requests for additional attorneys in his office for 2021.
Swanson told WNYNewsNow during a recent interview that he wasn’t seeking new attorneys, unlike in the past, due to fiscal challenges that the County, itself, was going to face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prosecutor doubled down on his comments when addressing members of the Chautauqua County Legislature.
“Obviously, we face significant challenges this year. We were asked to cut some of our budget for 2020. We made an effort to do that,” Swanson said. “I think, if you take a look at where we are on the year, we’ve done as good as we had hoped we could do considering the circumstances.”
“You all know that, year after year, I come here seeking more personnel,” he added. “I think it was abundantly clear this year that it just wasn’t a possibility. While I’d love new attorneys and an increase in staff to handle the caseload we have, I understand the reality of the circumstances that we face today.”
Swanson says that his office has no open positions. He explains that he wanted to provide clarity as he’s asking for an increase of $121,000 in his personnel services, which he attributes to an increase in various raises and a “no turnover” savings.
Additionally, Swanson says that his office is seeking more funds to cover the cost of insurance for his office. Overall, the department head says $164,000 of the $197,000 budget increase he’s requesting is due to costs “outside of” his control.
Swanson says $9,000 would be allocated towards IT costs, allowing his attorneys to utilize various technology to help with their caseload.
Chautauqua County Legislator Terry Niebel asked Swanson if there’d be any effect on the 2021 budget because of Judge David Foley’s recent dismissal of a murder indictment against Jamestown man Julio Montanez.
Swanson says the 2021 DA’s budget won’t be affected at all as the case was likely going to start next year anyways. He says that the 2020 budget would only be affected if officers needed to be called in to testify, which he says that’s only if his office chooses to re-present to the grand jury.
If his office chooses to appeal the ruling, Swanson states the costs would be the time an attorney spent on the appeal.