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New look in store for office

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By Damon Lawrence

Commissioners approved a resolution last month that will allow Roane County Circuit Court Clerk Kim Nelson to give the General Sessions Court Office a makeover.

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A new setup is badly needed, she said.

“On high-traffic days, such as Mondays or Friday mornings for traffic court, the volume at the window at the front of the office is such that there is constant disruption of my staff,” Nelson said.

“They have no opportunity to just sit there and quietly get their worked finished because the traffic is non-stop.”

The way the office is set up, people in the hallway can see the employees at their desks through the window.

Nelson said that visibility creates a problem.  

“We have a person that’s designated to work the window,” Nelson said. “She may be helping someone, but a second person, a third person, even a fourth person comes up to the window and they can see someone back in the back who maybe has to get a court docket ready for tomorrow and is really under the gun about getting their work done, they expect that person to get up and come out into the hallway and assist them immediately.”

The makeover plan calls for partitions that will shield the other workers from the public. Nelson said she will have one employee working the window to help people on a first-come, first-serve basis.  

“Hopefully folks will form a line like they do anywhere else they go,” she said. “The Post Office, McDonald’s. Wherever you go to be waited on, you get used to waiting in line one at a time to be served.”

Nelson said lack of space is also a problem in the General Sessions Office. Six people work in the office that’s less than 375 square feet, she said.

“That office is very crammed,” she said.

The partitions won’t make the space any bigger, but Nelson expressed confidence that it will make things more efficient.

“I’m just really excited about it and so is the staff,” she said.  

The makeover was expected to cost around $6,500. The commission passed the resolution unanimously.

“It’s mass chaos and I’m sure those ladies would like to have some relief up there,” Commissioner Randy Ellis said.  

Commissioner Benny East told his colleagues not to be surprised if other elected officials with offices at the courthouse start asking to do makeovers.

“I think every office in the courthouse now will be wanting cubicles, so get ready,” he said.