Three hired for Justice Court staff
By Dwayne Bremer
Jan 22, 2013, 17:23
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took a big step to correct the staffing crisis at justice court by hiring a new chief court clerk and two deputies.
The board voted 4-1 to hire Lisa Guidry as the new chief clerk.
District One Supervisor David Yarborough cast the lone "no" vote.
Beverly O'Hara and Maritza Dequent were hired as deputy clerks.
All of the hires are contingent on the individuals' accepting the job, county attorney Ronnie Artigues said.
Guidry said Tuesday that she will be taking the job and is excited to get started.
She will take the place of long-time clerk Liz Cook-Martin, who announced her retirement last month.
Guidry is a Hancock County resident and has spent the past six years working in the Bay St. Louis court department.
Tuesday's hirings are expected to ease the burdens at justice court after a rash of retirements, resignations, and terminations.
Last week, justice court only had two full-time employees, five short of pre-Katrina staffing levels.
Justice court is also under investigation by the state auditor's office after a complaint was filed last year against a former employee.
In the past few weeks, several former justice court employees who now work in other county departments have been assisting at justice court to keep the operation going.
The recent employee shortage comes at a time when justice court is busier than ever.
In the past year, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has added several new troopers to patrol Hancock County; Diamondhead now has its own police force; and the new Hancock County Jail reopened.
The added troopers and officers and new jail have resulted in more tickets and more criminal cases, officials said.