City Council Meeting - FINAL


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  6.C.       
Meeting Date: 11/03/2020  
From: Patrick Brown, Purchasing Director

Information
TITLE:
Consideration and Approval of Contract:  Public Defender Services for the Flagstaff Municipal Court
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
  1. Approve the multi-year Public Defender Services contract with Harris & Winger PC for an annual amount of $412,000.00 with an annual increase of 2%.
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute all necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
This agreement allows for the use of a Public Defender to represent indigent clients for all court settings, including but not limited to pre-trial conferences, evidentiary hearings, motions in limine, trials, sentencing, change plea hearings, and revocation of probation hearings. In addition, the Public Defender shall attend all court settings arising out of Appeals and Special Actions on Flagstaff Municipal Court decisions. The appointed Public Defender shall be responsible for providing personal consultation with clients prior to pre-trial conferences when requested or otherwise appropriate and for interviews of all witnesses. The Public Defender is required to maintain personal contact with the defendant until the case is terminated and is required to reasonable diligence in notifying a defendant of official court actions resulting from the defendant's nonappearance at a scheduled court session.

The contract amount exceeds Administrative authority and requires City Council action.
Financial Impact:
The Municipal Court has a budget of $414,350 for fiscal year 2020-21 in the General Fund account 001-01-016-0060-1-4205 (Legal Fees). The contract has been negotiated to allow for an annual increase of 2%, down from 3% to account for inflation.
Policy Impact:
Legal representation is required per the Arizona Revised Statutes Rules of Criminal Procedure - Rule 6.2. Appointment of Counsel for Indigent Defendants. 
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
Safe & Healthy Community - Foster a safe secure and healthy community by providing adequate funds for the public defender contract, that provides the legal representation of counsel for indigent individuals charged with a crime in the Flagstaff Municipal Court, in compliance with Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure – Rule 6 Right to Counsel.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
City Council has approved the use of contracted Public Defender Service for the last 20 years.
Options and Alternatives:
  1. Approve the contract for Public Defender Services
  2. Do not approve the contract and provide services by other means.
  3. Do not approve the contract and go out with another competitive Request for Proposals
  4. Do not approve the contract and bring the contract in-house with the hiring of attorneys employed by the City
Background/History:
On June 15, 2020, Purchasing posted a Request for Proposals for Public Defender Services on the PlanetBids website and advertised the RFP in the Arizona Daily Sun on June 17 and 24 of 2020. There was one (1) proposal received from Harris and Winger and was opened electronically on July 17, 2020. A five-member Selection Committee consisting of City staff reviewed and evaluate the proposal. Based upon the numerical scoring of the proposal, the Selection Committee determined that Harris and Winger was very qualified to perform the Public Defender services. Harris and Winger scored very high (2280 out of 2500 points), and demonstrated clear knowledge and experience providing public defender services, as well as the needs of the City.  
Additionally, Harris and Winger's fee in their original proposal included a 3% annual increase beginning in 2021, staff has negotiated the percentage down to 2% annually.
Key Considerations:
Harris and Winger, P.C. has extensive experience defending the rights of people arrested and accused of criminal offenses. This firm has served as the Public Defender for the City of Flagstaff for the past 20 years. This contract will allow for the continuance of a solid relationship with the City Court Administration.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
This contract will provide Public Defender services for individuals who otherwise could not afford legal representation.
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
  1. Approve the contract for Public Defender Services
  2. Do not approve the contract and provide services by other means. This will require the appointment of individual attorneys to each case that qualifies for legal representation at least on a temporary basis. Each attorney will in turn bill for their respective time on a particular case. This will most likely result in a higher overall cost for public defender services.
  3. Do not approve the contract and go out with another competitive Request for Proposals. This would require more time to solicit the RFP that would result in the current contract expiring leaving the City without Public Defender services.
  4. Do not approve the contract and bring the contract in-house with the hiring of attorneys employed by the City. This would require an additional budget for employees, equipment, and materials. Additionally, policies and procedures would need to be developed.
Attachments
Public Defender Contract


    

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