Report: Ottawa County courts understaffed

A judicial staffing report shows that the Ottawa County court system is understaffed, but there are no immediate plans to add another judge. The report, issued by the State Court Administrative Office on Wednesday, indicates that there should be 9.8 judges to serve Ottawa County. There are currently nine Circuit Court, District Court and Probate Court judges in Ottawa County.
Len Painter
Aug 18, 2011

In the biennial report, the state office is recommending that 49 judgeships in Michigan be eliminated as part of an effort to reduce the size of government. But it also recommended that 31 new judges are needed in growing counties, such as Ottawa County.

The proposed changes are due to declining populations and reduced caseloads in some Michigan counties, and rising populations and caseloads in other counties.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young Jr. said: “Simply put, we have too many judges in the wrong places.” He said the Supreme Court endorses the recommendations.

In Ottawa County, caseloads are increasing, according to Circuit Court Chief Judge Ed Post. “The study shows we are understaffed,” Post said.

Ottawa County Court Administrator Kevin Bowling said the 80-page report looked at statistical and environmental factors in determining judicial needs for each county, which included studying how long it took for a case to go through the court system.

The nine judges in Ottawa County are:

— 20th Circuit Court: Chief Judge Ed Post, Jon Van Allsburg, Jon Hulsing and Kent Engle.
— 58th District Court: Chief Judge Bradley Knoll, Kenneth Post, Richard Kloote and Susan Jonas.
— Probate Court: Mark Feyen.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Online:
For more information, visit the State Court Administrative office website

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