November 27, 2014

Elyria
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County clerk reduces hours again

ELYRIA — Lorain County Clerk of Courts Ron Nabakowski is again cutting back the hours his office is open to the public so his staff can keep up with paperwork.

Nabakowski’s office is now open to the public between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., but starting July 2, the office will close at 4 p.m., although staff will remain on duty until 4:30 p.m.

“We can’t get our work done, and we’re getting behind,” Nabakowski said.

The clerk’s office used to be open to the public at 8:30 a.m., but Nabakowski moved the time to 10 a.m. a few years ago in response to budget cuts and reduced staff.

But even that isn’t cutting it any more, he said.

“My employees are reporting increasing difficulties in closing the office by 4:30 p.m.,” Nabakowski wrote in a letter sent to the county’s judges this week explaining his decision. “This problem is primarily due to customers arriving at or near closing time to file time-consuming documents or cases, or to obtain copies of court records.”

Nabakowski said the deputy clerks who handle criminal cases are short-staffed and those who deal with civil cases recently have seen a marked increase in foreclosures.

The increase in foreclosure filings, Nabakowski said, comes after five banks reached settlements with government officials over numerous improperly filed foreclosures. Now that those issues have been addressed, Nabakowski said, the banks are moving forward with stalled foreclosures.

He said foreclosures are up 22 percent since this time last year. The rate of foreclosures in May of this year was 37 percent higher than it was in May 2011.

Although the clerk’s offices will be closed to the public after 4 p.m., it will remain accessible to court staff, Nabakowski said.

In recent years, Nabakowski has clashed with the commissioners over his budget and unsuccessfully pushed for additional funds earlier this year.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.