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Jefferson County magistrates complain about cramped conditions

January 18, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION and MATTHEW UMSTEAD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County's three magistrates again told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday that they are running out of space in the magistrate court building.

Magistrates Gail Boober, Mary Paul Rissler and Bill Senseney told the commissioners about increasing case loads and concerns about where to put growing magistrate operations.

The commission is looking at ways to move county government operations around as they prepare to open new space in buildings like the former Jefferson County Jail, which is being renovated, Boober said.

Boober said it was the magistrate's understanding that they would get to use the space now occupied by the Jefferson County Circuit Clerk's office in the magistrate building along George Street next to the Jefferson County Courthouse.

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Now the magistrates have heard that voter registration will use the circuit clerk's space, Boober said.

The magistrates said they need more space and gave the commission numbers to back up their argument.

Senseney said the magistrate court caseload increased 45 percent between 2005 and 2006 and Boober said the county will be getting a fourth magistrate.

The magistrates expressed concerns about space to the commission last year and said their court space is sometimes taken up by circuit court operations.

When that happens, the magistrates say they have to find other places to hold court.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan said Thursday that voting operations in the circuit clerk's space will be a temporary move.

The parties agreed that the magistrates and Kirk E. Davis Sr., the county's capital projects manager, would meet Tuesday about the issue.

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