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File #: 2021-1191   
Type: Regular Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 10/13/2021 In control: Human Resources
On agenda: 11/2/2021 Final action:
Title: Department Head Personal Services Agreement - Public Defender
Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator, Human Resources
Attachments: 1. Summary Report, 2. Personal Services Agreement
Date Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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To: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors

Department or Agency Name(s): County Administrator, Human Resources

Staff Name and Phone Number: Sheryl Bratton, 565-3578 Christina Cramer, 565-2988

Vote Requirement: Majority

Supervisorial District(s): Countywide




Department Head Personal Services Agreement - Public Defender



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

Authorize the Board of Supervisors to execute a Personal Services Agreement with Brian Morris as Public Defender, with the agreement from December 1, 2021 to November 30, 2024 at the “G” step of the position’s salary range, and eligibility for other County benefits in accordance with Salary Resolution 95-0926.



Executive Summary:

The salary and fringe benefits provided to County department and agency heads must be considered by the Board of Supervisors at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. Further, an oral summary of the salary and benefits recommended action must be presented at the meeting where the final Board action is taken.  (California Government code §54953, 54956)


After a successful statewide recruitment and extensive selection process, the Board of Supervisors has selected Brian Morris as the new Public Defender.  



The Public Defender is responsible for the development, administration, and direction of the County’s program for legal defense for those needing County provided defense as mandated in California Government Code section 27706.  The Office provides counsel in felony and misdemeanor trials, and preliminary hearings in the Superior Courts; counsel to minors in Juvenile Court proceedings; and counsel in mental health related proceedings which may result in incarceration or detention or other deprivation of liberty for those in need. The Public Defender manages a current annual budget of $14.5 million and leads a staff of 54 full-time employees, including.


Upon the announcement of the previous Public Defender’s retirement, Human Resources conducted an extensive statewide recruitment. Candidates were invited to interview with a diverse group consisting of subject matter experts, community stakeholders, County department heads, the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors.  At the conclusion of the process, the Board of Supervisors selected Brian Morris as the next Public Defender. 


Mr. Morris has more than twenty years of public defense experience and early in his career served as a Deputy Public Defender for Sonoma County.  Since 2001, Mr. Morris has been with the Marin County Public Defender’s Office and has served as the Assistant Public Defender since 2015.  Mr. Morris built strong relationships with Marin County justice partners and community partners.  He has a strong focus towards equity, the community, and person centered representation to clients.


Mr. Morris earned his Juris Doctor from University of San Francisco School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Vermont.


The Personal Services Agreement places Mr. Morris  at the “G” step of the salary range, with an annual salary of $231,084 with an effective term December 1, 2021 through November 30, 2024 and all other benefits and compensation as prescribed in the Salary Resolution 95-0926. Mr. Morris will start on December 1.


Strategic Plan:



Prior Board Actions:



Fiscal Summary


FY 21-22 Adopted

FY22-23 Projected

FY 23-24 Projected

Budgeted Expenses




Additional Appropriation Requested




Total Expenditures




Funding Sources




General Fund/WA GF












Use of Fund Balance








Total Sources





Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

Ongoing annualized salary and benefit costs associated with this position is already incorporated into the Public Defender’s Office budget. This action does not increase any budget appropriations. 


Staffing Impacts:




Position Title (Payroll Classification)

Monthly Salary Range (A-I Step)

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Deletions (Number)














Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):




Personal Services Agreement, Brian Morris


Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board: