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Public defender salary increase presented

By Randy Pierce

Set to increase by 20 percent, the salary for the public defender position is the subject of legislation expected to be passed by the Madison County Board at its regular monthly meeting next Wednesday, July 19, with the understanding that the state is covering two-thirds of the total expense.

This information was shared with the county board’s judiciary committee at a meeting held on Thursday, July 6. David Livingstone, chief of the state’s attorney’s office civil division, explained the situation by noting this matter concerns provisions set down by the state of Illinois concerning the individuals working in such positions. 

The public defender, currently Mary Copeland, functions independently of the state’s attorney and has the primary responsibility of representing defendants who cannot afford to hire private legal counsel. 

Copeland, who resides in Godfrey, has held the position since November of 2020 when she was appointed, to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of John Rekowski, by the judges in the Illinois Third Judicial Circuit District which covers Madison and Bond counties.

In providing details concerning the proposed resolution going before the county board which Livingstone described as “pretty open and shut” because it basically follows guidelines established at the state level, he said the mandatory cost-of-living raise for Copeland would bring her annual salary to $177,690 from its previous total of $159,871.

Once approved, the resolution would be provided to the state as part of the process for the county to get reimbursed. 


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