Girard court workers scrambling to catch up

GIRARD — Daily operations at the Girard Municipal Court are getting back to normal after more than a month of functioning with a limited staff, offering limited court services.

Eleven court employees who were laid off due to funding returned to work Monday. They were able to return because this two-week pay period will be coming out of 2007 funds.

Signs telling those coming to probation appointments that the probation department was closed were removed. Office doors were again open to the public, and employees could be seen scrambling to catch up on work that has been accumulating for weeks.

Judge Michael Bernard laid off the 11 employees in mid-November. The court, since that time, had been operating with four employees. Probation appointments were suspended and cases that would have normally been processed were placed in one of four boxes labeled traffic, criminal, civil or journal entry. Clerks must now take care of those cases.

Karen Constantino, clerk of courts, said it is good to have all 11 employees back to work, but getting caught up on the court’s backlog of cases will take some time.

“They have to wait on everyone coming to the window, plus do everything that was in the boxes, so I don’t know how long it will take to get caught up, at least a month, maybe more,” she said.