The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 27, 2013

Court offices to re-open full time

(Continued)

When clerk offices around the state "closed early," the staff was still inside, catching up on filing records, putting documents online and doing the other administrative tasks that are set aside each time a member of the public comes in looking for assistance.

"We got a lot of stuff done during those 'closing' times. Now, they are going to be allowed to rehire positions," she said.

That, said Littlejohn, is as it should be.

"We should make ourselves available to the public," she added, "because that's who we're here for."

State Court Administrator David Boyd wrote in a statement to the public that "the Legislature and governor have provided us with the resources we need to focus on delivering accessible, timely and high-quality justice."

Another change for the newly increased judicial budget will be noticed by all court users: fewer postponements of court dates due to the unavailability of a court reporter. This year's budget includes the addition of 13 more of them statewide.

"The layoffs slowed justice down and reduced service for people in critical need of it," said Scieszinski. "[Rehiring] will help judges (and by extension the folks we serve) tremendously to have some of our court-reporter services restored. Just by way of example, I'm without court-reporter help at least one day a week since the budget-driven layoffs. The reason it makes such a difference, is that ... I do what my help would normally do ... which then prevents me from being able to do what I was appointed to do, which is rule on cases. The new funding and re-hiring will solve some of the problem."

— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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