Merced supervisors consider Andrade as interim public defender

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 23, 2014 

The Merced County Board of Supervisors will consider a recommendation to appoint an interim public defender Tuesday, filling a void left by the departure of the previous public defender, Eric Dumars.

The County Executive Office has recommended appointing Vincent Andrade, the chief deputy public defender, to the position. Andrade has been filling in as interim public defender since Oct. 21, county officials said.

If approved, Andrade would receive a 10 percent increase to his current salary, according to county documents.

Andrade’s salary range was $125,049.60 to $152,235.20 a year, but he received a raise after he stepped in as interim public defender, said county spokesman Mike North.

“When someone takes over those duties, they get a 10 percent bump in pay and a $300 allowance per month for additional expenses,” North said. Andrade’s biweekly pay went from $5,669.76 to $6,338.87.

In an interview with the Sun-Star earlier this month, County Executive Officer Jim Brown said Andrade has been working closely with him and other justice partners. “He’s the next in line from management perspective,” Brown said. “Andrade has been providing oversight for staff in coordination with the courts since (Dumars) has been out on leave.”

Dumars left office on administrative leave in September and resigned his position last month after an investigation by the county into complaints about how his office was being run. County officials won’t disclose when his resignation takes effect, although he’s no longer on the job.

County supervisors also will consider approving a contract with Sierra Air Center Development to lease a building at Castle Airport.

The company plans to build a fuel-base operation at Castle, a one-stop shop that would provide such services as corporate hangars, a fueling station and maintenance operations, according to Bob Deklinski, director of airport development for Sierra Air Center Development.

The $30 million project is funded by the EB-5 program, which allows foreign investors to put $500,000 into businesses at Castle in exchange for a two-year conditional visa.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the board’s chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St.

Sun-Star staff writer Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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