Upshur County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Laura Lee Norred said Friday she has changed her office hours because the new county budget eliminated one of her two office clerks.
The office at the county “Rock Building” in Gilmer will no longer be open until 6 p.m. Mondays and 4 p.m. Fridays. Instead, hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Fridays, Judge Norred said, but she and her clerk will take no lunch hour.
“I hate that we’re having to close early now on Mondays. . . A lot of people came in after 5 o’clock,” she said. But “it’s hard for us to be open till 6 now” because, if either she or her clerk have to leave, that leaves only one person in the office and “we have no security—none,” she said.
At the Upshur County Commissioners Court’s Sept. 28 meeting, Judge Norred told the court she received a letter from County Treasurer Myra Harris telling her to decide which of her two employees to lay off.
The judge told commissioners her office does “a lot,” and that it handles the most traffic tickets of any of the county’s four Justice of the Peace offices. She said she was unsure she could bring in as much revenue if she lost an employee.
County Judge Dean Fowler said that the cut was part of the county proposed budget he sent to her.
Judge Norred responded that if she lost an employee, whoever she kept would “have a lot of comp time.”
Judge Norred told The Mirror on Friday that the proposed budget Fowler sent her did not “reflect” that she would lose a clerk.
She added that although her office brought in $139,000 more last fiscal year than Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter’s office, the Pct. 2 office retained both its clerks in the new budget.