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Attorneys question Davison County indigent public defender contract

Two attorneys are asking Davison County Commissioners to reconsider their decision on a new public defender contract. The commission has reached an agreement with two firms: Alvine Weidenaar LLP, represented by Zach Flood and Stiles, Papendick and Kiner of Mitchell represented by Doug Papendick. The contract, which has yet to be signed would run from February 1st of this year through December 31st, 2021 at $190,000 annually for each firm.

Mitchell attorney Dava Wermers believes the decision was premature. “I think there may have been better options, but I don’t because I didn’t get the opportunity to put together an option,” Wermers told commissioners.

Attorney Ashley Anson of Wessington Springs told commissioners she questioned how the new contract came into play. “It definitely affects other attorneys without giving them a right to put in a bid,” said Anson. “I have four kids who are depending on work here in Davison County.”

Chairwoman Brenda Bode says the commission began negotiating a contract several weeks ago. She says each attorney has to assess their own position. “In the clients they serve, in the firm that they run,” Bode said. “They get to choose as attorneys who they represent.”

Commissioner Denny Kiner recused himself from the negotiations as he’s a relative of attorney Pat Kiner.