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Commonwealth Courthouses Close Next Week for First Furlough Day

One week from today, courthouses across the commonwealth will be closed.   The closures are part of a cost saving measure. The Kentucky Judicial Branch shuts down on August sixth for the first of three furlough days this year.  Leigh Ann Hiatt with the state Administrative Office of the Courts says the furloughs are part of the state’s budget reduction plan.

“No judicial center or courthouse in Kentucky will be open that day.  It also means, just in general, you can’t get a new driver’s license or one renewed,” said Hiatt.

The furloughs only impact non-elected court personnel, who will be off without pay.  When they return to work next Tuesday, Leigh Anne Hiatt with the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts says court workers and attorneys will have some catching-up to do.

“That will put the system somewhat behind, so we’ll have to try to make up those trials and those dockets and hearings and driver’s licenses and all the other services that we offer as best we can once we resume services,” added Hiatt.

The entire court system is also closed September 4th and October 15th.  The three furlough days are expected to save the state $478 thousand apiece.  Furloughed workers do qualify for unemployment benefits.

Hiatt says two other furlough days are September 4th and October 15th…

“We’ll revisit all this in early 2013 to see what else we might need to do.  But, the good news is we’re not having to lay off folks at this time.  We’ve layed off almost 300 in the last four years.  We’re hoping that the furloughs are a good option to help with the budget reductions and we can avoid layoffs at this time,” said Hiatt.

Hiatt says trials and other court proceedings are not scheduled on furlough days.  Deputy clerks will not process bonds and no release orders will be issued.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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