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County clerks to work Christmas Eve

Most Kanawha County and state employees will get to enjoy a day off on Christmas Eve. Others will have to show up at the office.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Menis Ketchum signed an order Tuesday declaring Dec. 24 a judicial holiday, not a legal holiday.

That means county magistrate clerks and circuit clerks must report to work Christmas Eve.

The Kanawha County Circuit Clerk's office will operate a skeleton crew from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Circuit Clerk Cathy Gatson said.

The magistrate clerk's office will be open during the same hours.

"We'll have the bare minimum of people in the clerk's office to cover civil filings and handle criminal inquiries and posting of bonds," Gatson said.

This is the first time in several years circuit clerk and magistrate clerk employees have been required to work on Christmas Eve, she said. Christmas Eve was on a Saturday last year.

Past Supreme Court chief justices have declared Christmas Eve a legal holiday, which means the offices could close, Gatson said. She was unsure what years the offices were open on Christmas Eve. 

She doesn't expect her office to see many people on that day.

"But we may have some business since we're the only county office that is open," she said.

Gatson said she was not upset that some of her staff would have to show up on a day when other county employees would off. 

"We will, at all times, do what we're required to do," she said.

A Kanawha County magistrate also will be working a holiday schedule on Christmas Eve, Chief Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom said.

A holiday schedule means a magistrate will be in the office from 9 a.m. to noon and 9 p.m. to midnight.

"And of course the magistrate will be on call outside of those hours, too," Bloom said.

Bloom was not upset about the Supreme Court's decision.

"We're going to do what we have to do to maintain the court system and make it available to the public as the law requires," he said.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Jennifer Bundy was unsure when Christmas Eve was last declared a judicial holiday for clerks.

She could not comment as to why Ketchum made the decision this year.

The Supreme Court Clerk's office also will be open on Christmas Eve. A skeleton crew will maintain the office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.    

Contact writer Paul Fallon at paul.fallon@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817. Follow him at www.twitter.com/PaulBFallon. 

 


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