City to work with new public defense firm

City of Bremerton officials this week hope to finalize a new contract for public legal defense services for the municipal court.

Eric Fong, of Bremerton Defenders, gave his 120-day notice in July that he no longer wants to contract with the city. That contract was supposed to run from Aug. 1, 2011, through July 31, 2014, at a cost of 184,800 per year.

“As you have previously been made aware, this contract has become a liability to this firm,” Fong wrote in opting out of the contract. “Since my prior emails and requests for help cannot be met, I feel I have no choice but to preserve myself and terminate the contract.”

A call to Fong for further comment was not immediately returned.

City Clerk Shannon Corin elaborated on how the contract became financially unviable for Bremerton Defenders.

“I guess he didn’t consider overhead costs and it was supposed to provide overhead costs, so it was costing him more than the contract was worth,” she said.

Corin said five law firms showed interest in winning the new public defense contract and that Cross, LaCross & Murphy PLLC was the city’s top pick. The city council was slated to take action on the new public defense contract at Wednesday’s business meeting and sign two-year deal with the Port Orchard firm at a cost of $275,000 per year.


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