BATH | Increased costs from state mandates, already expected to be high, are likely rising as Steuben County legislators discussed the addition of more staff to the District Attorney’s Office.

The agenda for Monday’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee (PSC) initially stated that District Attorney Brooks Baker would be seeking approval for the hiring of a paralegal and an assistant district attorney to help meet state requirements for turning over documents to defendants -- a process known as “discovery.”

Baker said Monday he’s actually seeking another position: An additional part-time investigator, who would also assist with that discovery process.

He said that with a 15-day window to turn over information to a defendant that’s been charged, an additional investigator will be necessary to make sure contact information for witnesses and other important information is correct and included in those documents -- something that’s not always the case when police agencies provide investigation paperwork to Baker’s office.

Plus, an investigator will be important to track down additional information a defendant may request after receiving initial documents.

“There’s going to be a whole new font of motions (filed),” Baker told the committee.

He noted that the addition of staff won’t improve conditions elsewhere in his office.

“This is new work,” Baker said. “It’s not lifting any load off any other attorneys.”

He said the discovery work to be done is highly specialized, with most time spent in front of a computer or with piles of documents -- and little chance of appearing in court.

“It sounds like a miserable job,” said Legislator Steven Maio of Corning.

“It does not sound like a fun job,” Baker responded.

The addition brings the expected cost of complying with the state mandate to about $430,000 for next year.

The increase is being factored into the 2020 budget currently being prepared for presentation this month, but Baker would like to have the staff on board and up to speed when the new law takes effect in January.

The proposal, which was technically a request to waive a requirement that would slow the hiring process, got initial approval from the PSC Committee.

If it’s approved by the Administration Committee, which is responsible for staffing decisions, it will go to the full Legislature Nov. 25 for a vote.

Baker noted that while there is additional work to do on the Public Defender’s side as well under the new law, those expenses are being covered by state grants, at least for the immediate future.

The state is not providing additional funding to cover expenses for prosecutors.