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Circuit Clerk office cutting 10 hours from week

Former Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb issued an Administrative Order directing Alabama’s Circuit Clerks’ offices to close up to 10 additional hours due to inadequate funding of the state’s Judicial Branch.

“Here in Marengo County, we have lost one Court Specialist due to the layoffs and another is out on medical leave,” said county clerk Rusty Nichols. “We only have two Court Specialists working in the office at the present time. These two ladies are covering nine different court divisions…”

Effective Aug. 15, the Marengo County County Clerk’s Office will open at 8 a.m. Monday through Thursday and close at 4:30 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and at 2:30 on Thursday. The office will be closed on Friday.

“We want to apologize to everyone in the county for the inconvenience these layoffs have caused,” Nichols said.

According to Charles Story, President of the Alabama Circuit Clerk’s Association and the clerk for Chambers County, 94 Unified Judicial System clerical aides were laid off last November. An additional 148 Juvenile Probation Officers, court attendants and personnel at the administrative office of courts were laid off May 1.

“Still reeling from prior layoffs, Circuit Clerk’s offices operating at staffing levels of 65 percent to 70 percent will be further reduced to staffing levels of approximately 40 percent to 45 percent,” Story said.

According to Story, Alabama’s Circuit Clerk offices handled 1.2 million cases statewide last year and collected more than $385,000. Those monies are then funneled to various agencies, the General Fund, litigants and victims of crime.

“We will continue to work hard and process our cases as quickly as possible,” Nichols said. “I would like to ask for everyone’s patience as we struggle to maintain our filings and complete our paperwork in a timely manner.”