Scarbrough: Hours added, staff needed
Published 8:51 pm Monday, June 9, 2014
The Pike County Circuit Clerk Office will once again be open five days a week starting in July.
Circuit Clerk Offices across Alabama are reopening to the public on Wednesdays effective July 1 due to an order issued Monday by Chief Justice Roy Moore.
“We found out about this the same time the media found out about it,” said Jamie Scarbrough, Pike County Circuit Clerk.
“We knew the Wednesday closings couldn’t be permanent, but I thought we would be staffed better than we are right now,” Scarbrough said. “But we will make due. We have great employees who work very hard to say current.”
Circuit Clerk offices statewide closed to the public on Wednesday in March 2013, in an effort to allow clerks time necessary to process paperwork and improve efficiency of the clerks’ offices. The offices had been operating with reduced staff members since 2011, when budget cuts forced clerks to layoff more than 200 court specialists statewide.
Understaffing is a major problem for the Circuit Clerk office, according to Scarbrough.
“Our staff is 43 percent of what we should have, so Wednesday was our day to catch up,” Scarbrough said. “It’s a Catch-22. We want to be open to the public every day. Right now we are current, but in the future things will backup. We won’t be serving the public like we could be.”
Moore addressed the staffing issue, saying clerks are in desperate need of additional employees statewide to replace the employees laid off in 2011.
“It’s not just a Pike County problem, it’s a statewide issue, Scarbrough said. “This was not expected at all.”
Adding an additional staff member to the four-person team in the Pike County office would help boost the output of the staff, according to Scarbrough.
Moore said in a statement that he was confident that they were ready to resume normal operations, but that if a specific judicial circuit feels he or she unable to maintain the workload, he is encouraged to submit a request for relief.
Scarbrough said that at this time there are no plans to submit a request.