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County approves hiring of third public defender

"The town justices that I have talked to said that there has not been a big increase in their case loads, but there has been a shift in the types of cases they are dealing with," Hatch said. "I think that Essex County has to take a serious look at part-time help, because for every dollar that we spend in salary, we spend 50 cents more in benefits."

Hatch said that the justices he had talked with agreed that the public defender office has been a help to the county judicial system.

"They feel that while the office does need help, another person in the office may not be the answer," Hatch said.

Keene supervisor William Ferebee asked Hatch how many justices he had talked to in the county, to which Hatch responded three.

"I don't know how you can have a feeling for the entire county by just talking to three," Ferebee said. "That's not a majority."

Hatch also asked county manager Daniel Palmer if he supported the recommendation to add the position.

"I have a responsibility in this position and I have to do what I feel is right," Palmer said. "Oh, yes, I support this."

"Okay," Hatch replied. "So when you are up there later this year saying that we have to cut, cut, cut, I will remember this."

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