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New chief public defender? Not yet

January 1, 2008
Nine people will soon decide whom they want to see as the next chief public defender for Indiana's largest county.

The Marion County Public Defender Agency's board of directors conducted second interviews March 4 with two applicants who want to succeed Chief Public Defender David E. Cook when he leaves the agency. A third had withdrawn his name prior to those interviews, according to board chairman Jimmie McMillian.

He declined to release any names and would only say the second interviews "went well." The board had interviewed 10 original applicants for the position Feb. 26.

Now, the board plans to meet for an executive session and subsequent public vote to decide on the appointment. Following Tuesday's interviews, the board planned to meet for a vote on March 6. But that plan was scrapped after the board's legal counsel informed members that Indiana's public access law requires 48 hours notice, McMillian said. A date hadn't been determined by Indiana Lawyer Daily deadline.

Once a decision is made, the board will make a recommendation to the City-County Council, which has the final say with a confirmation vote.

McMillian didn't know when that might happen but said it's urgent they consider this appointment as quickly as possible. It could take two meetings to complete the process, he said. The council met Monday, and its next scheduled meeting is March 24, according to an online meeting calendar.

Cook notified the board in early December 2007 of his plans to step down from the agency, where he's been for 12 years. He planned to stay until mid-February, but postponed his departure for a month to give the board more time to find a successor. Cook told Indiana Lawyer today that he has not been asked to stay longer, and that he couldn't stay past April 1. He will start work at Indianapolis immigration firm Gresk & Singleton.
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