ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County Public Defender Brandon Boutelle was recalled to active duty in the U.S. Navy.
Boutelle told county supervisors at a Tuesday committee meeting that he will head to Connecticut for duty on Jan. 4, and he expects to be back Oct. 4.
He said he wants his deputy, Bill Tansey, to take over as acting public defender in his absense.
Boutelle asked that Tansey be paid the same salary Boutelle makes while serving in that role.
"Being public defender in any form is a harrowing job," Boutelle said. "It's a 24/7 job, and it's worth the extra pay while he's filling that position."
Boutelle said the county will not pay him while he is serving on active duty in the Navy.
County supervisors agreed to appoint Tansey and pay him at Boutelle's salary level.
Boutelle suggested two options for the county to fill in the gaps in manpower in his department while he is gone. It could rely on the list of assigned counsel attorneys and have them submit vouchers or hire a temporary assistant public defender to fill the position.
County Manager Dan Palmer said it would likely be more expensive in the long run to rely on the assigned counsel program and recommended to supervisors that they hire a temporary assistant public defender. They agreed.