County circuit clerk’s office hours cutPublished 12:39pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013
New hours for the circuit clerk’s office, effective March 20, mean the office is now closed Wednesdays.
“It’s basically intended to allow the staff … to get caught up with all the filing and paperwork and everything they need to do to make sure all the information is in the system that needs to be there,” said Tallapoosa County Circuit Clerk Patrick Craddock.
Chief Justice Roy Moore issued the order regarding operating hours. According to the order, the reduction in hours is necessary because of a combination of lack of funding, loss of employees throughout the state and a need for employees to attend to duties during a time when they are not helping customers.
“I just don’t think there’s much choice,” said Craddock, who said the Tallapoosa County office is operating at about 50 percent staffing. “It had been optional throughout the state, but this was to make everything uniform throughout the entire state.”
Craddock said Wednesday is not the most convenient day for this type of closure for his office, but they will work with it.
“We have quite a bit of court scheduled on Wednesday,” Craddock said. “If this is going to be a long-term thing, we have to do some better scheduling with the judges.”
To offset potential problems because of the reduction in hours, drop boxes will be located in front of the clerk’s office in both Alexander City and Dadeville, and they will be checked throughout the day to ensure any payments or documents received will be posted in a timely manner, Craddock said.
Although Craddock said the order is “something we’re going to have to deal with for the time being,” he said he is optimistic that it might not be a long-term change.
“I hope that as the economy improves so will the budgetary shortfalls that have resulted in our being understaffed,” Craddock said.
Exceptions in new hours will be made only for true emergency situations involving arrest warrants, petitions for protection from abuse and temporary restraining orders.
The office will continue to be open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.