Circuit Clerk offices to close to public on WednesdaysBy Matt Cole Published 2:47pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore issued an order last week directing circuit clerk offices across the state to be closed on Wednesdays, beginning March 20.
The order says staff work hours should stay the same, just that the offices be closed to the public. He also said there must be a drop-box the public can use to drop filings on Wednesdays if necessary.
Marengo County Circuit Clerk Kenny Freeman said that while it will be an inconvenience to the public, it will help the court stay caught up.
“Here in Marengo County, we are short-staffed with only three Court Specialists,” he said, “and Wednesdays will be a chance for us to get caught up. If something is not done, the court system will fall behind or even shut down.”
Freeman also apologized for the inconvenience to the public.
“I just want to apologize to the people of Marengo County for any inconvenience this may cause,” he said. “This was an order from Chief Justice Moore, and we had no choice in it.”
Below is a letter from Freeman to Marengo County attorneys and citizens:
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore issued an Administrative Order directing the Circuit Clerk’s Office in each judicial circuit of the state to be closed to the general public on Wednesday of each week during normal business hours. This decision was made due to the inadequate funding of the Judicial Branch of Government, resulting in massive layoffs of Court Specialists statewide.
Here in Marengo County, we have lost one Court Specialist due to the layoffs and another has retired. We only have three Court Specialists working in the office at the present time. These three ladies are covering nine different court divisions, while waiting on customers and answering the phone. As the office will be closed one day a week to the general public, my staff will be working diligently behind closed doors to keep all the paperwork as current as possible. We want to apologize to everyone in the county for the inconvenience these layoffs have caused. We will continue to work hard and process our cases as quickly as possible. I would like to ask for everyone’s patience as we struggle to maintain our filings and complete our paperwork in a timely manner.
In an effort to comply with the order of the Chief Justice, our office will be closed on Wednesday of every week effecting March 20:
•A locked drop-box will be located by the door for all filings and payments. The box will be checked frequently throughout the day and all papers will be stamped, filed and processed as they are received.
•The Circuit Clerk’s Office will be opened for warrants, protection orders and emergency situations.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this critical time.