Crawford County is looking to fill the top two jobs in the county's Office of Public Defender as a new county court criminal trial term looms next month.

Robert Trambley, the county's chief public defender, retired Oct. 3 after more than 17 years in the job and now Gary Kern, the first assistant public defender, gave notice he's leaving the office. Kern's last day on the job will be Friday, according to the Crawford County Human Resources Department.

The Office of Public Defender provides free legal services to those charged with crimes who can't afford a lawyer. Crawford County Court of Common Pleas has a criminal trial term beginning Nov. 12.

County commissioners said Wednesday they are looking to fill both posts as quickly as they can and are working to make an interim appointment for the chief public defender's post.

The office's normal complement is four full-time attorneys — a chief public defender, first assistant and two staff attorneys; three part-time staff attorneys; four legal secretaries and one intake specialist.

With Trambley's retirement known, the county had been advertising for a chief public defender since last month, but the initial job search was just in Crawford County, commissioners said.

Initially, only two attorneys applied for the job, so the position was advertised again, taking applicants from beyond the county. The new deadline for applications is Tuesday.

The anticipated salary range is $65,000 to $70,000 depending on experience and qualifications.

As chief public defender, Trambley was making $80,008.03 annually at the time of his retirement on Oct. 3, according to the Human Resources Department. Trambley had been the county's chief public defender since he joined the office May 1, 2002, according to the Human Resources Department.

Kern is paid $54,996 annually as first assistant public defender, according to the Human Resources Department. He joined the office as an assistant public defender Aug. 18, 2014, and became the first assistant Sept. 5, 2017, according to county records.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

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