Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb has issued an administrative order to close state circuit court clerks’ offices to the public for up to 10 hours a week, but Blount County Circuit Clerk Mike Criswell has announced that normal business hours in this county’s office will be maintained at present.
Criswell told The Blount Countian his office had been notified that three of the eight positions in his office could be eliminated due to reduced funding. Clerks, however, were give the option of maintaining force levels if the necessary funding could be provided from local sources.
Criswell said the clerk’s office receives a portion of restitution and recovery funds collected by the district attorney’s office, and that he has been in effect hoarding the clerk’s office portion of those funds for several years in the event of just such an emergency.
“We had a near miss on a situation like this three or four years ago, so I’ve been saving up funds in that account ever since because I saw it coming again,” Criswell said.
Criswell said there are sufficient funds on hand to maintain normal operations in the face of reduced state support for about a year. At that time, unless funding from the state is restored or funding from other sources is found, other arrangements will have to be made, which could involve reduced office hours to the public, he said.