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Judges ask for clerical help

A full answering machine before noon, mail piled high and citizen requests may be part of the daily grind for some people.

For Skaneateles Town Justices Kathleen Dell and Charles Major, those things are a problem when they aren't being tended to properly on a daily basis. Needless to say, the justices were in a bind last week.

Lacking full-time court clerk Kimberly Hall for the next several weeks due to a medical leave, Dell and Major approached the Skaneateles Town Board Thursday Aug. 6 to request funding to hire a part-time clerk until Hall returns to work.

According to Dell, Hall's leave could last between three and six weeks.

Without a full-time clerk in the office, though, several "fires" have needed to be put out, some of which could find the town in hot legal water. Among several other calls that filled their answering machine, Dell said there were messages from District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, calls from other attorneys and one from a truck driver from Ohio who was under the assumption he needed to drive back to Skaneateles to take care of traffic charges.

On April 1, Dell and Major asked the board to fund a part-time position after it had previously made the decision to unfund an existing part-time court clerk position, Dell said. Now with Hall already out on leave the judges had to make ends meet -- going so far as for Dell to act as clerk one evening while Major was at the bench -- while there still wasn't board approval for hiring a clerk for the day-to-day office needs.

The bottom line, Dell said, was the justices were seeking an agreement from the board to approve 10 hours a week at a cost of $12 an hour for a minimum of four weeks. The total cost would be $480.

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