1. The commission shall employ persons to be public defenders for a term of four years. A public defender shall employ such persons to be assistant public defenders, deputy public defenders, investigators, and any other employees as are necessary to discharge the function of the office, all of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the employing public defender. Circuit and regional public defenders holding office on April 1, 1982, shall continue to hold such office until the expiration of their terms under the direction of the director as otherwise described in this chapter. Public defenders may be appointed to serve additional terms by the commission.
2. Public defenders, assistant public defenders, and deputy public defenders shall be attorneys, licensed to practice law in this state, and shall not otherwise engage in the practice of law except as authorized by this chapter or by commission rule. Public defenders, assistant public defenders and deputy public defenders may be employed on a full- or part-time basis.
3. The compensation of persons appointed under this section shall be fixed by the commission.
4. The commission may establish such local or regional offices as it deems necessary to properly carry out purposes of this chapter.
5. The commission may appoint, on recommendation of the director, and fix the compensation of all other personnel necessary to the operation of the state public defender system.
6. The commission may contract with private attorneys to provide defense services in such areas of the state and on such terms as it deems appropriate.