Moore orders clerks to close on Wednesdays

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Circuit clerks’ offices around the state will be noticeably quieter for one additional day out of the week.

In an effort to stem budget concerns within the Judicial Department, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has issued an order for circuit clerks’ offices to close their doors to the public on Wednesdays, effective March 20.

While the offices will be closed to the public, employees’ work hours will remain unaffected, and they will use those hours to perform the duties necessary to keep the office up and running.

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Butler County circuit clerk Mattie Gomillion said that the closing is an unfortunate side effect of the budget cuts, but that the extra day to get things done will be pivotal to the office’s productivity.

“It gives the employees that are left time to work interrupted, because there will be no phone calls and no customers at the counter,” Gomillion said.  “We have provided a drop box at our door for anyone that wants to get a money order and pay a ticket, or for attorneys that might need to get something filed, stamped or dated for the day that we are closed on Wednesday.”

Moore said that the one-day a week closing was necessary because the courts are facing a crisis due to a lack of funding. The order came just one day after the Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund committee approved a General Fund budget that would cut the court system’s budget by as much as $14 million.

Gomillion added that it has been difficult to act as efficiently as possible with the recent staff cuts that have been enforced, but she understood that the order has wide-reaching effects for the general public.

“It certainly isn’t something that we want to do,” Gomillion said.  “We’re fortunate here in Butler County that we aren’t weeks behind, but there are a lot of things that haven’t been prioritized that we’ve had to let go because we don’t have time to do it within our normal workdays.  This closing will help, but I’m sure that this closing is going to hurt a lot of people who need to get things done, too.  But we’re going to try to do whatever we can to help those people.”

The Butler County Circuit Clerk office will remain open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.