The Livingston County Board of Commissioners met Monday night and approved a request dealing with changes to courtroom staffing.

A resolution was approved changing a part time 20-hour deputy clerk position to a full time deputy courtroom clerk and authorized the appropriate budget amendment. The request was made by Clerk Elizabeth Hundley, who noted increased staffing demands and other issues related to court docket changes. Clerk Elizabeth Hundley had originally asked for one additional full time position to accommodate the increase in the number of judges during the 2019 budget cycle but a delay was requested by administration to analyze the impact of the additional circuit court judge on the office. The resolution states that alternative options have unsuccessfully been proposed to the courts to avoid the need to increase personnel. Commission Chair Don Parker tells WHMI at the subcommittee level, there was general discussion about how they conduct the courts and what is the most expeditious and cost-effective way to provide what’s needed in terms of properly resourcing the local court system. Parker says the county clerk does a fantastic job and it wasn’t about questioning the request, it was just about making sure they have the proper synergies in place. He says the board has a constitutional duty as the funding unit to make sure the court system has the proper resources in order to run an efficient docket. Parker says he has complete confidence in the clerk when she says that this was needed and so did the rest of his colleagues on the board.

In 2017, the Board of Commissioners approved the addition of a third circuit court seat via resolution. That seat became effective this past January. The creation of that third seat is said to have impacted staffing requirements of the clerk’s legal division, which is separate from other court and judicial staff with different functions and duties. The Michigan Constitution and state laws require the county clerk to attend circuit court sessions to perform mandated duties. On February 4th, a local administrative order took effect that substantially reallocated existing and future docket assignments between the three circuit court judges. That in turn increased the number of court sessions the county clerk must attend in order to meet statutorily mandated duties, hence the change in position. (JM)