CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Attorney General Patrick Morrisey asked state lawmakers Wednesday to approve $1.85 million in supplemental money that would be used to hire extra employees, and upgrade office computer and phone systems.
To offset the extra costs, Morrisey said he plans cut spending practices by his predecessor, Darrell McGraw. The computer upgrades also will help the office save money on paperwork and document storage fees, he said.
"It is my intent to identify budget offsets and monies to pay for every improvement and new dollar we are seeking," Morrisey told members of the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday afternoon.
Morrisey, a Republican, submitted a $5.5 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, so the supplemental appropriations, if approved, would make up a quarter of the Attorney General Office's total budget. He's expected to have a difficult time selling his supplemental budget request to the Democrat-controlled House and Senate.
In making his case Wednesday, Morrisey called the office phone system "virtually inoperable."
The phone system manufacturer no longer provides maintenance, he said. Consumer Protection Division employees don't have voicemail. The phone system also doesn't link the attorney general's Martinsburg office to the main office at the state Capitol in Charleston.
A new phone system would cost about $260,000, Morrisey said.
Morrisey talked about the office's computer systems in even starker terms -- "antiquated, ineffective and putting the state at risk."
The office, he said, uses an outdated email system that's not compatible with Microsoft Outlook -- the system most state agencies use.
"On a personal level, my email has been broken every other day, if not every day," Morrisey told lawmakers.
The Attorney General's Office also has no computer system to store documents electronically, he said. Most divisions store paper records, which raises "serious legal ethics and security concerns and hampers considerably the office's aim to increase the efficiency and quality of legal representation for the state," Morrisey said.
The computer software and hardware upgrades would cost $1.06 million.
"This is not the Cadillac of plans," he said. "These are necessities."