Courthouse Cuts

Local judicial officials held a news conference to announce they are not giving up those jobs without a fight.

The Alabama Administrative Office of Courts has informed Houston County Circuit Clerk Judy Byrd that she must layoff nine of her 24 employees by the end of next month. She says her office is already overworked and under-staffed and there's no way she can continue to provide the same level of service.

Some other counties in the Wiregrass area are also being hit by the courthouse cutbacks. But Houston County court officials are trying to save their jobs. The Houston County Commission agreed last year to put up $300,000 for new courthouse furniture and be reimbursed later by the state court system. Presiding Judge Larry Anderson wants to use that money to save jobs.

Judge Anderson says the cutbacks are not just eliminating jobs, they're impacting families.

Judge Anderson wants to set up a meeting between Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver and State Court Administrator Richard Hobson as soon as possible. The layoffs must be finalized by the end of next month.

Circuit Clerk Judy Byrd says the layoffs will be based on seniority and job performance. State court officials in Montgomery will decide who goes and who stays.