Crouch also defended magistrates' work habits. She said they regularly rotate schedules, sometimes working an eight-hour daytime shift, sometimes working until midnight, sometimes being on call until the wee hours of the morning.
"Just because the circuit court judges don't see them there doesn't mean they're not working. Magistrates get in their 40-plus hours," Crouch said.
Crouch has served as senior status magistrate since 2009 and has visited multiple counties' courthouses while in that job.
She said other counties, including Fayette and Raleigh, have extended magistrates' hours into the evening to tackle courtroom backlogs, sometimes hearing summonses until 6 p.m.
"It alleviates a lot of busy work in the daytime," she said.
Crouch did not say Kanawha County should adopt a similar system, however.
Incumbent Kim Aaron, a Democrat in her ninth year as magistrate, had only nice things to say about the changes.
"It kind of takes us out of the mix. It will be flowing so much easier," she said.
Magistrate candidate Blaire Carney-Smith, also a Democrat, said she has no problem with the long hours.
"That's part of the job. I'm ready to do it. Let's go," Smith said.
Arnett "Sonny" Corley, a Democrat and former State Fire Marshall employee, said he also would not have a problem working a demanding schedule.
"We're on call 24/7," he said of his time firefighting. "I wouldn't know how to do anything but 24/7."
Dianna Graves, a Republican candidate, said she likes the changes Bloom has implemented.
She said it's important to elect magistrates with a demonstrated work ethic. She said she regularly works 60- to 70-hour weeks in her current job as a producer of commercials and short documentaries.
Candidate C.E. "Bud" Anderson, a Democrat, wondered if there might be a way to address lobby congestion other than changing the dockets. He suggested limiting the number of people who can come to court with defendants or victims or rearranging the seating.
Strickland said neither of those options would work. She said the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department arranges seating in the courthouse to work with its security plan. Strickland also said judges should not limit the number of people in the lobby because it is a public building, and people called before the court often need moral support.
A story about the interview with the other magistrate candidates will appear in Thursday's Daily Mail.