Heavy caseload leads to change in hours for Midland County District Clerk's Office

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MIDLAND -- If you’ve been to the Midland County Courthouse recently, you’ve probably seen signs posted all over explaining a change in hours for the district clerk’s office.

Instead of closing at 5 p.m., they will now be locking up at 4 p.m.

After receiving a few phone calls from concerned residents, CBS 7 News dug deeper into the sudden change.

District Clerk Ross Bush wants to make it clear, it’s not that he and his employees get to go home an hour early every day, they’re just using that extra time to get work done without any interruptions. But still, some people say it creates an inconvenience that they shouldn’t have to deal with.

There’s one common quality that those working inside the Midland County District Clerk’s office possess:

“You definitely need to know how to multitask,” said Clarissa “You definitely need to know that you have many things going on at one time and we have multiple courts.”

If you were to walk one lap around the office, you would quickly notice there’s not a single empty desk. Stacks of folders continue to pile up throughout the week.

“The work would come in at 8 a.m. and not stop until 5 p.m.,” said Bush. “We had to do something to allow the deputies to keep up with the demand for Midland County.”

In the seven years that Bush has been in office, he’s seen a big increase in the number of cases that come across his desk.

From 2014 to now, the caseload has jumped from 1,668 to 2,254 -- and mind you these are just criminal cases.

“We don’t shut down at lunch, we continue to stay open, we just close our doors at 4 p.m. so we can try to get our heads above water for an hour,” Bush explained.

But some people still feel the office is obligated to remain open.

“Maybe they need to work later, that’s what I do when I can’t handle the load that’s on my desk,” said one Midland resident.

Bush and his team say this change will be best for the community overall.

“We want to make sure that we are working everything that comes in correctly, and probably because we know that everything has a time, a crucial time limit and we don’t ever want anything to fall between the cracks,” said Clarissa. “We just always want to stay consistent and ensure that everything is getting done efficiently.”

The district clerk’s office isn’t the only department changing their hours. The justice court offices for precinct 2 and 4 will be closing at 2 p.m. every Tuesday effective August 15th.

They too will use the extra time to catch up on paperwork, which is continuing to increase.