Circuit Court records open hours reduced

By Diana L. Coleman

Legal News

 

Effective immediately (May 6, 2010) Muskegon County’s circuit court records office is reducing the amount of hours the office will be open to the public. Office hours will be 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Regular office hours may resume by July 1, 2010, or sooner.

The Muskegon County Circuit Judges and the SCAO (State Court Administrative Office) stepped in to help the county clerk’s office catch up with a backlog of work at the short-staffed office. Chief Circuit Judge John C. Ruck and the SCAO office authorized the restricted hours in a court administrative order issued May 4, 2010.

The change in office hours was requested by Nancy A. Waters, Muskegon County Clerk. The circuit court records office has encountered recent turnovers in staff and will receive some management assistance from the state.

The office currently is short by six staff members: two on medical leave, one on leave of absence, two recent vacancies, and one vacant position left unfilled by the county’s hiring freeze.

This situation is causing a major backlog in the records office filing. This paperwork backlog creates problem in the courtroom when documents are not in the file at the time of a hearing. Legal deadlines have become a concern.

The shorter office hours for public access will allow circuit court records staff to spend their time filing legal documents and providing files to circuit judges that are up-to-date.

July 1 is the target date to resume regular office hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

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