Lawyers representing one of the members of the D.C. Public Defender Service's board of trustees, who is challenging the selection of a former prosecutor to head the office, argued in court yesterday that the selection process had been "shrouded in secrecy" and would do "irreparable harm" to the agency.

In the first day of hearings on a lawsuit filed by the board member, the Rev. Msgr. Joaquin Bazan, attorney Gary Kohlman sought an order to prevent former prosecutor Cheryl Long from taking office on Monday.

D.C. Superior Court Retired Judge Samuel B. Block, however, recessed after a two-hour hearing and ordered that arguments in the case resume on Monday.

The selection of Long, who had been a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office and currently is with the Justice Department, has been protested by Bazan and some members of the Public Defenders Service's staff who supported deputy director Charles Ogletree for the position.

Bazan is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent Long from taking office and to prevent "retaliation" against staff members who have protested her choice.

Yesterday, District lawyers representing the Public Defenders service's board of trustees denied that the selection of Long had taken place at a secret meeting. They also contended that the board is not subject to the District's open meetings law.