Public Defenders in Charlottesville, Albemarle Seek Pay Increase
The commonwealth's public defenders in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are asking for a pay raise - and they have strong support from an unlikely source.
The public defenders say they are paid about 25 percent less than their counterparts in the prosecutor’s office. Now, they are asking the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council to close that gap.
“To see such an inequity in pay, it just doesn't make sense to me and I don't think it creates a just system in Charlottesville and Albemarle and I think we as a community take a lot of pride in our criminal justice system, so this is something that needs to be fixed,” said Sheriff Chip Harding of the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office.
The office of public defender made the same proposal last year - but both the county and city rejected it.
In the meantime, the commonwealth's attorneys have received pay increases.
Public defenders say they have fewer resources on each case and are losing valuable attorneys to the federal public defenders system, where defense attorneys are paid as well as prosecutors.