120.23 Joint county public defender commission.

(A) The boards of county commissioners in two or more adjoining or neighboring counties may form themselves into a joint board and proceed to organize a district for the establishment of a joint county public defender commission. The commission shall have three members from each county, who shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners of the county.

(B) The boards shall agree on a specific date for the joint county public defender commission to be established, on which date the appointments of all members shall take effect. The joint board shall notify the Ohio public defender commission of the date.

(C) Of the initial appointments made by each county to the joint county public defender commission, one appointment shall be for a term of one year ending one year after the date the commission is established, one appointment shall be for a term of two years ending two years after the date the commission is established, and one appointment shall be for a period of three years, ending three years after the date the commission is established. Thereafter, terms of office shall be for three years, each term ending on the same day of the same month of the year as did the term which it succeeds. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of the term. Any member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until a successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first.

(D) The members of the commission shall choose as chairperson one of the commission members, who shall serve as chairperson for two years. Meetings shall be held at least quarterly and at such other times as called by the chairperson or by request of the joint county public defender. Members of the commission may receive an amount fixed by the agreement of the boards of commissioners of the counties in the district, but not in excess of the amount set for the members of the Ohio public defender commission pursuant to section 124.14 of the Revised Code per diem for every meeting of the commission they attend, and necessary expenses including mileage for each mile necessarily traveled.

(E) The agreement of the boards of county commissioners establishing the joint county public defender commission shall provide for the allocation of the proportion of expenses to be paid by each county, which may be based upon population, number of cases, or such other factors as the commissioners determine to be appropriate. The county commissioners may amend their agreement from time to time to provide for a different allocation of the proportion of expenses to be paid by each county.

(F) The county auditor of the county with the greatest population is hereby designated as the fiscal officer of a joint county public defender district organized under this section. The county auditors of the several counties composing the joint county public defender commission district shall meet at the commission office not less than once in each six months, to adjust accounts and to transact such other duties in connection with the commission as pertain to the business of their office.

(G) Each member of the board of county commissioners who meets by appointment to consider the organization of a joint county public defender commission shall, upon presentation of properly certified accounts, be paid the member's necessary expenses upon a warrant drawn by the county auditor of the member's county.

(H) The board of county commissioners of any county within a joint county public defender commission district may withdraw from the district. Such withdrawal shall not be effective until at least ninety days after the board has notified the Ohio public defender commission, the joint county public defender commission of the district, and each board of county commissioners in the district, in writing of the termination date. The failure of a board of county commissioners to approve an annual operating budget for the office of the joint county public defender as provided in division (C)(1) of section 120.24 of the Revised Code constitutes a notice of withdrawal by the county from the district, effective on the ninetieth day after commencement of the next fiscal year. Upon the termination date, all joint county public defender matters relating to the withdrawing county shall be transferred to the state public defender, a county public defender, or appointed counsel.

(I) The cost of representation in all matters assumed by the state public defender shall be charged to the counties in accordance with division (D) of section 120.06 of the Revised Code.

Members of the joint county public defender commission who are residents of a county withdrawing from such district are deemed to have resigned their positions upon the completion of the withdrawal procedure provided by this section. Vacancies thus created shall not be filled.

If two or more counties remain within the district after the withdrawal, the boards of county commissioners of the remaining adjoining or neighboring counties may agree to continue the operation of the joint county public defender commission and to reallocate the proportionate share of expenses to be paid by each participating county.

Effective Date: 11-15-1981; 09-29-2005