JP extends office hours

Interim Justice of the Peace Stacy Spurlock gave an update of her first two weeks in office to Jack County Commissioners during Monday’s regular meeting.

Spurlock, who was appointed earlier this month by commissioners to fill the term of retired JP Nolan Dunlap until November’s general election, told the court she has learned a lot in her 13 days in office, working with Judge Mitchell Davenport and county staff. In an attempt to make the office more accessible to the public, the office is no longer closed from 12 to 1 p.m. for lunch.

“The staff are now rotating their lunch hours so someone is there,” Spurlock noted. “We try to conduct business outside the office during our lunch hour, so it made sense to do it for others.”

Spurlock is also working with Davenport for the opportunity to hold cases in the county courtroom where the commissioners meet one day a month  not only to make things more professional for the public but also to keep the office open while hearings are going on.

By having court one day a month in May and June, Spurlock said she hopes to have a backlog of cases in the civil docket caught up. Getting the criminal case backlog caught up is next on her agenda, but she hopes to find another day of the month where that can get done as well.

Spurlock said she is also working with state officials to get her staff able to have occupational driver’s license hearings online and also possibly give direction, not legal advice, and guide people through such things as the eviction process.

“Our staff is eager to learn so we can help the public even more,” Spurlock said.

The staff is learning to better utilize software to make their work more efficient, Spurlock noting the office wants to work with the public and do what it can in the most efficient manner possible.

“I want to make sure my office, the commissioners and judge have a good working relationship,” Spurlock said.

Spurlock and the office staff are looking to redesign the office web page, working with County IT Director Frank Hefner on possibly doing initial defensive driving consultations online instead of having to come into the courthouse.

Davenport said he was excited to hear about the plans for the office, particularly about staying open during the lunch hour, saying he wished more offices would to that.

“Each office is diffeerent but we’ve gotten away from being open during the lunch hour and I’d like to see us shift back.” Davenport said.

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