CLERK BOCK ANNOUNCES NEW HOURS OF OPERATION,
CLOSING OF MID-COUNTY BRANCH
$2.5 million budget cut forces Clerk’s office to reduce services
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (June 6, 2012) – Because of a $2.5 million budget cut handed down by the Florida Legislature during the 2012 session, the Clerk & Comptroller’s office will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will close its Mid-County branch in Royal Palm Beach. Changes go into effect on Monday, July 2.
When the 2013 fiscal year starts on July 1, the office will be operating on a budget that is 25 percent less than it was three years ago.
“A cut like this could have a catastrophic impact on our courts, so it was critical that we find ways to cut deep without disrupting the operations of the judicial system,” Clerk Sharon Bock said. “Equally important is the effect on citizens and businesses, when divorce and child support cases and contract disputes are left to languish because hearings and paperwork are delayed.”
Also starting on July 1, the office will restrict overtime to only those situations where the judiciary has a critical service need. In addition, some technology projects designed to improve efficiency at the courthouse may be delayed.
Clerk Bock is not eliminating any more jobs. Since 2009, legislative cuts have forced the layoffs of 111 employees. With the volume of cases filed increasing every year, Bock says losing more employees is an option the public can’t afford.
The Clerk’s office provides support to Palm Beach County’s justice system, with responsibilities including processing court documents, preparing court files and summonsing jurors for jury duty. The Clerk’s office has locations at the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach and at branch courthouses in Delray Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Belle Glade, and employs more than 500 people in those courthouses.
The change in Clerk’s hours for the public will not affect the operating hours for Palm Beach County’s courthouses, nor will it affect the time that jurors report to jury duty.
The Mid-County branch in Royal Palm Beach, which was open twice a week to accept traffic ticket payments, will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 29. Those tickets can still be paid online at www.mypalmbeachclerk.com or at any other courthouse in Palm Beach County.
Clerk Bock is encouraging Palm Beach County residents to use the office’s online services, including online payment of traffic tickets, if they cannot visit the courthouses between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“I am hopeful that the Legislature will reverse its course on these cuts and realize how critical Florida’s Clerks of Court are to the smooth operation of our justice system,” Clerk Bock said. “I don’t want to reduce hours for the public or close a branch, but not doing so would put a stranglehold on our justice system that the public cannot withstand.”
For more information about the Clerk’s office, please visit www.mypalmbeachclerk.com or call (561) 355-2996.
The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.
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