Staffing cuts are likely to slow system

Published 11:30 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2003

By By CONNIE NOWLIN Special to The Standard
When Amendment One failed, it took with it the last chance some court employees had to keep their jobs.
Almost every county was forced to look at layoffs in the circuit court offices.
Baldwin County was projected to lose state funding for eight positions, County Circuit Clerk Jackie Calhoun said, but by working with the county commission and also increasing court costs, the jobs were saved at least through May.
Unfortunately, Escambia County does not have that luxury, and three of seven employees in the office of the clerk of the 21st Circuit will be laid off as of Nov. 26.
The effects of that kind of reduction in personnel?
A big part of the problem is the need for personnel in the office was determined before a consolidation of services between the circuit court clerk and the City of Brewton Court.
That means that Taylor's office will be hit with a double whammy -- fewer employees to handle more cases, about 1,400 more cases, to be exact.
So what does that matter to residents?
It means that every case will take longer to process. The circuit court clerk's office processes all the cases, be they circuit, juvenile, civil, criminal or small claims cases.
The employees who are going to lose their jobs have an average of five years or less on the job.
That certainly doesn't make the prospect of being without them any easier.
The reality of losing his employees isn't lost on Taylor.

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