Clerk’s office facing cuts

Published 5:16 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

As ordered by Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb on Tuesday, the Chilton County Circuit Clerk’s Office will reduce its operating hours.

Starting Aug. 1, the new hours will be as follows: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon; and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also, the office will continue to be closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.

“I apologize for the inconvenience that may be caused to the public and the people of Chilton County,” Circuit Clerk Glenn McGriff said. “If a judge orders me to do something, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”

McGriff said he regrettably had to eliminate two positions as a result of the order. There are now six staff members in the clerk’s office, and staffing statewide is estimated to drop below 50 percent the recommended level due to layoffs — which could affect more than 250 of the current 750 employees statewide.

“This has been tough on me,” McGriff said, adding this is the first time in his career he has had to implement layoffs. “Everyone is suffering through this economy. It’s hard for families to meet their budgets, much less for county, state and federal people. All I’m asking is for the public to have patience with us, and I pray we’ll have patience with them.”

McGriff said he made an effort to cut hours on days when it would least affect the public. He said traffic is typically light on Wednesday afternoons, but Friday’s hours were left untouched because that is an important day of the week.

“Friday is a big day for child support,” he said. “I cut child support checks for mothers on Friday afternoon.”

McGriff also plans to install a drop box at the office for after hours. People are also encouraged to take advantage of options such as e-filing.

As for staff members, they will continue to work eight hours a day, and if anything good comes from the reduced hours it will be more time to get caught up with paperwork.

But what the future holds is uncertain, especially as Cobb plans to step down from her position Aug. 1.

“We don’t know what lies ahead,” McGriff said.