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District Court shortens public hours due to hiring freeze
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Barton County District Court will be closing to the public one hour early, at 4 p.m. daily, starting Monday, June 6.

Most people won’t notice the change, unless they try to pay a traffic ticket at 4:15 p.m., District Court Administrator John Isern said.

The early daily closing is in response to staff shortages. Normally there would be 10 clerks in the office, but it is down to seven and the State Judicial Branch has imposed a hiring freeze to address budget concerns.

Staff will continue to work until 5 p.m. daily, but the office will be closed to the public, including attorneys, at 4 p.m., Isern said.

"We would rather not have that be the case," he said, but staff will use the final hour of the day to file paperwork with fewer interruptions. "It allows us to keep the state caught up. We’re trying not to fall behind."

Judges won’t be affected, and the change should not cause a slowdown in the number of cases handled in court.

Isern said the early closing time will probably remain in effect until the budget concerns are addressed and District Court is allowed to fill some of its vacancies.