Assistant district attorney Franklin Katschke is seeking to become the new public defender for Lincoln County.
County commissioners have been in discussions with Katschke over a contract, and while they did not officially offer him the position at their July 16 meeting, Katschke was asked to make some modifications to his current proposal.
Present public defender Dylan Frehner won election to the position of district attorney and will take office on January 1, 2019.
Commissioners had considered the idea of having two public defenders, because Frehner thought there would be enough work for two, but no decision was made on that idea, although Commission Chair Paul Donohue thinks they will likely stay with just one local defender.
Discussions centered quite a bit on the need to insert language into the contract that would make the position a two-year contracted position to be renegotiated every two years, rather than being an automatic renewal. Frehner’s two-year contract worked quite well, with Frehner noting that a two-year renegotiation allows for a detailed review.
Commissioners also discussed not accepting Katschke’s proposal and instead going out to bid and also asking for requests for proposals from others who might be interested in the position.
Commissioners Varlin Higbee and Jared Brackenbury said they would like to go out to bid for the position and ask for requests for proposal.
Shane Manuele, of Ely, who once worked with Frehner in Pioche, has filled in as a defender when certain conflicts arose, and might be interested in the position.
“I would like to see competition, myself,” Higbee said. “Katschke is good, but if Manuele wants a shot at it there are several ways we can go and maybe split the contract between the two. If they can find enough work here for the both of them, that would be great. If we don’t get any other proposals, then we’ll go with what we’ve got.”
Katschke was contacted by telephone during the meeting and spoke with commissioners saying he was willing to modify the language in his proposal.
It was decided Commissioners Kevin Phillips and Donohue will meet with him soon to work out the details on several of the issues.
After meeting with Katschke, it is possible the proposal might be able to be brought back for discussion at the Aug. 6 commission meeting.