Clerk’s office to reduce hours

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The Marengo County Circuit Clerks office, like others around the state will soon start closing its doors to the public for a short period each day.

Alabama Chief Justice Drayton Nabors Jr. has authorized all Circuit Clerks to close their offices for ten hours a week due to cutbacks and layoffs of state employees

Due to the budget reductions resulting from severe strain in the state general fund staffing for Circuit Clerk’s offices has been reduced by about 25 percent. In order to continue providing quality service to litigants, attorneys and the public it is imperative that each office operates in the most efficient manner possible.

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In a release from Nabors office he said he had spoken to officials and they all agreed this was a necessary change.

“After consulting with trial court officials, I have determined that at the discretion of the clerk productivity and efficiency can be greatly enhanced by allowing staffs some period of time daily to concentrate on duties without distraction,” Nabors said. “If the basic record keeping functions of our offices is not current, justice is not served and will be hindered by the inability to make accurate entries and locate documents, exhibits and evidence.”

Nabors said he would authorize Circuit and District Clerks to close their offices to telephone calls and other direct services to the public for up to 10 hours a week. Nabors added it would be up to the specific offices to decide how to do this.

“The Clerk’s shall decide whether and how to exercise their authority depending on all circumstances, but most especially increasing overall quality and productivity,” Nabors said. “Employees will continue to adhere to a minimum 40 hour week.”

In the Marengo County office, the doors will be closed from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day.

Demopolis Circuit Clerk Rusty Nichols said the closings would begin on March 14.

“We’ll start it on Monday,” Nichols said. “It is something we really hate to do. We have put it off for as long as we could.”

Nichols said they had tried to avoid closing the office, but because they are understaffed it makes it very difficult to serve the community and get other office work done.

“We got the memorandum in January and tried to hold off,” Nichols said. “The main problem is trying to get the work into the computer. We are still answering the phones and everything else and we just run into problems getting the workload taken care of.”