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Brunswick County gets creative to staff court offices

READ MORE: Brunswick County gets creative to staff court offices
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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) -- The Brunswick County Commission has come up with what one judge says is a creative solution to a budget hurdle.

After combining the superior and district court offices last year, Brunswick County hit a brick wall. The court system was out of money and was short staffed, so Judge Ola Lewis came up with a creative solution.

The judges asked the county if they could use left over money from a grant to supplement pay for an additional position. Now, that money has run out, the judges say they still need the worker.

"We need a judicial assistant, and that's why we've approached the county to fund a position, because we believe it's necessary, and it's our duty to serve the citizens to provide that service," Lewis's law clerk Preston Hill said.

Lewis, the senior resident superior court judge, says if the position is cut, court hearings would suffer. That means the county would end up paying in the end anyway.

"It would be our sincere hope that individuals would not have to sit in jail longer awaiting court dates, but it was certainly going to be a possibility," Judge Lewis said.

Instead of spending more money, the county has decided to rearrange assignments instead.

"It's my understanding that they're giving of their own clerk to our system, and we are very grateful for all of their assistance all the time," Judge Lewis said.

We tried to talk to Brunswick County Manager Marty Lawing about the decision to reassign the county clerk to the court offices. He said the decision is not official yet, because the officer has a few things to figure out before the changes are made July 1.

Lewis says the court office will most likely have to look for more money again next year.

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