Chief Justice reverses court order, Circuit clerk’s office will open on Wednesdays

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Alabama's Chief Justice is making an 'about face' when it comes to the way circuit clerk offices operate statewide. The state's top judge closed those offices on Wednesdays last year.

The Chief Justice ordered the offices reopen on Wednesdays. The closure hurt the court system more than it helped.

More happens in the Madison County Courthouse than some would think. Taxpayers needing to do business there might notice a change.

“The clerk`s office will open for regular business hours every day of the week,” said Madison County Presiding Judge Karen Hall.

Alabama's Chief Justice ordered last year employees in those offices close their doors to the public on Wednesdays.

“It was beneficial to the courts and the clerks that they were able to process the paperwork in a more timely fashion. But, the public was very frustrated,” added Judge Hall.

Judge Hall noticed the frustrated public went from the closed clerk's office to the judges' office.

“I don`t think it helped in that regard at all. Our clerk`s office is still understaffed. The employees are still underpaid. Most of them, quite a few of them I should say, make less than $22,000 a year,” added Judge Hall.

The short-lived Wednesday closures were intended to improve workflow for employees and save money for taxpayers. Courts statewide have remained backlogged since 2011.

Madison County taxpayers should see their clerk's office move to a 5-day a week schedule in July 2, 2014.