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SAN JOSE — Bay Area district attorney and public defender offices are bracing for budget cuts that could require them to lay off lawyers and staff and eliminate some programs. The state’s budget crisis and its trickle-down effect on county spending plans have officials in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties looking for ways to reduce costs by 10 percent or more. One fiscal bright spot is the San Francisco public defender’s office, where PD Jeff Adachi has just won additional funding. Santa Clara County faces a $160 million budget shortfall in the 2003-04 budget. The DA’s $70 million budget could be reduced by $7.6 million, county officials say. The Santa Clara PD’s office, meanwhile, may lose about $4.5 million of its $33 million budget. Officials around the Bay said since 80 percent to 90 percent of their office budgets go toward salaries, layoffs may be inevitable. “We don’t want to cause any greater anxiety than we need to in the work force, but when the budget deficit is that great, it’s hard to make your budget target without having cuts at one level,” said Santa Clara Deputy DA and Finance Director Michael Gaffey. In Contra Costa County, the Board of Supervisors met Friday and ordered each department, including the PD, the DA and probation, to cut 10 percent of general fund spending. District Attorney Bob Kochly said late Friday that for his office, that translates into the need to cut about 5 percent of his $22 million budget. Cuts must be identified by next week and, pending board approval, will go into effect April 1. “There might be [layoffs],” Kochly said. “It will take a lot of creativity for there not to be.” Kochly said because of civil service protection, he can’t reduce salaries and must layoff employees according to seniority. “Brand new deputies don’t cost as much, so to reach a certain dollar figure you have to lay off more,” he said. In San Francisco, the DA’s office has been asked to cut $2.1 million from its $29 million budget. The mayor has also asked all city departments to identify an additional 10 percent in budget cuts as part of a contingency plan. DA Terence Hallinan’s chief financial officer, Teresa Serata, said Friday that Hallinan will decide on cuts this week, with layoffs and salary reductions both possibilities. “Right now all the labor contracts are open, and the mayor’s office is in the middle of labor negotiations for next year,” Serata said. “Everything is open.” Bucking the trend, the PD’s office just won back funding for six attorney and two staff positions. And Adachi says he doesn’t anticipate cutting his $13.3 million annual budget in 2003-04. “We just negotiated those positions with the city, so I don’t expect we will be losing them in the next budget cycle,” Adachi said Friday. “We made a showing that our office needed those positions in order to continue our operations.” Though the mayor has called for citywide cuts, “Our situation is somewhat unique,” Adachi said. “We are at our bare staffing level now. We made a clear case of that to the powers that be.” In Alameda County, DA Tom Orloff said Friday that reduced state funding could mean his office will have to trim 10 percent of its $34 million budget in 2003-04. But Orloff said there wasn’t talk of any immediate need for layoffs. “We are in better shape than other counties for this fiscal year,” Orloff said. “Next year, at this point, it’s really a crap shoot.”

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