Budget woes hit clerk’s office

Published 10:59 pm Friday, March 8, 2013

State budget cuts are forcing circuit and district clerks’ offices statewide to close to the public each Wednesday.

Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County Circuit Clerk, shared the order issued by Chief Justice Roy Moore on March 6 mandating that all clerks’ offices close to the public each Wednesday beginning March 20.

The shutdown is prompted by state budget cuts, according to Moore’s order.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Scarbrough said the state judicial system budget has been reduced by $25 million since 2001, resulting in the loss of 498 employees. “I have a working staff of 43 percent (or full staff) which includes five full-time employees who are each doing the work of two people,” Scarbrough said.  Because of that reduction, staff members are having difficult processing paperwork and cases.

“The mandate will not help with the lack of funding but it will give the clerks’ office uninterrupted time to handle paperwork pertaining to divorces, child support, criminal convictions, collecting of money, and all other traffic and high volume calling that comes through the courthouse daily.

There is no good day of the week to close our offices to the public, but we have no other options,” Scarbrough said. “Without this mandate, we are unable to process any needed files and paperwork adequately.”

Scarbrough said the Wednesday close provides a much needed break that would help meet the expectations of the people in Pike County, and employees will remain at work as always and will be available for any emergency situations. The Pike County Circuit Clerk office is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 to 5 p.m..