The township council has approved on first reading an ordinance that will make the township's public defender and municipal prosecutor contractors, rather than part-time employees.
Under the current setup for these positions, whoever is appointed to them is eligible for taxpayer-funded health benefits.
Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, who is responsible for filling both positions, said neither of the individuals filling the positions currently take health benefits. They were also removed from the state's pension system last year.
The current municipal prosecutor is Steven Zabarsky; the current public defender is John J. Jackson.
The council will also establish a pool of alternate and conflict prosecutors and public defenders. The alternates will also be contractors, and will serve when the normal appointee is not available.
Conflict prosecutors and public defenders will also be contractors.
"The likely scenario with conflict is when two or three people are charged in the same crime and all qualify for a public defender," said Councilman John Ducey. "Oftentimes all three will point the finger at one another, which would create a conflict, so you need a conflict public defender."
Likewise, a conflict prosecutor may be needed when the normal prosecutor has a conflict with someone involved in a case on the day's calendar.