Updated: January 13, 2020 11:10 PM
Created: January 13, 2020 10:43 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Democratic caucus is questioning five recent hires in the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office.
Democrats say Public Defender Timothy Donaher hired five employees from Cheryl Dinolfo’s administration, and that only two of those positions are in his budget, and only one is an attorney.
The reappointment of the Public Defender was also put on Tuesday night’s legislature meeting as a matter of urgency, per the president of the legislature.
"It looks, on its face, as though, on the way out the door, they decided to take some of the people who are not going to have jobs because the administration had changed and decided to put them in the one place they could put them," Monroe County Legislator Vince Felder said.
Donaher’s office sent News10NBC the following statement:
“I categorically deny that these are “patronage hires”. Each person I hire, and especially so for Mr. Molinari, Ms. Stein, Ms, Anthony, Ms. Smith, and Ms. Gucciardo are eminently qualified for their positions. I have known and personally worked with each of them for several years, and I know they will be an asset to the Public Defender’s Office. I have never, and will not, disqualify anyone from employment in this Office due to their political affiliation, or because they are politically active.
Further, to the extent there is an implication that I was pressured to hire members of the former administration, that is also not the case. These hires are part of hiring fourteen (14) new grant funded positions that are the result of a $38 million grant Monroe County received in August of 2019. I received approval from my funder in November to use the grant money to hire these anticipated positions. Once I received that approval, I began looking for qualified staff to fill each position. The Office is fortunate to be able to hire the five individuals mentioned above.
It is anticipated that this funding will continue, and as a result, we will continue to add staffing to this office, both support staff and attorney staff.”
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