Workers at the Jasper County Clerk of Courts Office did something they haven't done in a long time Tuesday afternoon - opened their doors to the public.
Since the fall of 2009, clerks of court offices have been closed to the public from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The curtailed public hours were the result of budget restaints within the Iowa Judicial Branch.
But with the $167.7 million budget approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor this year, a 3.5 percent increase, clerk of courts offices throughout Iowa are now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each work day.
"It was very important to the justices of the Supreme Court, the Governor and to members of the legislature that all of Iowa's clerks of courts offices are open tot he public full time," said State Court Administor David Boyd. "Clerks help thousands of Iowans every day but due to staff shortages our clerk offices have been closed to the public every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon since the fall of 2009. With the budget approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor in June, the Supreme Court authorized more than 40 additional positions for the state's clerk of court offices so that all the offices will be opne to the public full time."
However, some district court clerk's offices may be closed over the lunch hour in some smaller counties and offices may close in order to cover special circumstances, such as staff training or unexpected staff shortages.