New Castle News

Local News

July 9, 2014

County court matron jobs eliminated

NEW CASTLE — Two antiquated job titles in the Lawrence County courts no longer exist after a county salary board meeting Tuesday.

The board voted 5-0 to change the titles of two part-time court matron positions to secretary I, with accompanying wage increases of about 85 cents per hour each, retroactive to Monday.

The votes were by the three commissioners, the county controller and the president judge.

The change was made at the request of President Judge Dominick Motto, who explained that the court matron job titles have existed for many years. At one time, their tasks included cleaning out the spittoons in the courtrooms.

The last person who did that was in the late 1970s, Motto said, adding the matrons also filled water glasses and cleaned the courtrooms, among other duties.

He said two people currently are in the positions, but their duties have changed drastically.

One of them works only about 10 to 20 hours per month when juries are called to court, he said.

The other regularly works about 20 hours a week in the court administrator’s office.

Commissioner Dan Vogler explained the employee who works during jury week has secretarial duties that involve such tasks as keeping track of jurors as they arrive at the courthouse.

Motto noted the courts’ “juror efficiency has grown to a positive extreme.”

He credited the district attorney and public defender for having jurors present in the courthouse only when they are needed and eliminating their long waits during plea bargains and other proceedings.

That reduces the cost of paying for their time, their travel and feeding them, he pointed out.

The salary board also voted 5-0 to combine a part-time probation officer aide position with a funded but vacant part-time aide position and instead create a full-time probation officer aide.

The new hire will receive benefits after a 90-day probationary period. Motto explained that because of the grants the adult probation department has received, the agency has expanded its personnel to include a drug and alcohol treatment person and a drug court employee.

The new position “will be a wash” to the county, financially, he said, unless the new employee opts for family benefits. Then there would be a slight increase in cost, he said.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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