Supervisors must step in to court clashPublished 12:04am Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Clearly something is wrong in Adams County’s Justice Court office.
Apparently millions of dollars of court fines have been accruing over the years and, as best we can tell, little has been done to aggressively collect the fines.
To date, much of what’s been done seems to be simply turning over a list to a collection agency.
But that process misses an even greater opportunity — the court system is the best collection system we know, at least when used properly.
While a collection agency may irritate a debtor to death, the court system’s power is much greater.
Courts have the power to drag a debtor before a judge and make them pay up or face further penalties.
The challenge in Adams County appears to be getting the various parts of the puzzle on the same page.
First, only one of the two Justice Court judges is highly vocal about the need for the collections work.
Second, the judge that is interested — Judge Charlie Vess — says he’s not getting cooperation from Justice Court Clerk Audrey Bailey.
Unfortunately the matter has become personal with Bailey threatening — in open court — to sue Vess over the matter.
Adams County supervisors have stepped in and tried to make peace. Supervisors appoint the clerk, while judges are elected.
Supervisors are wise to get involved. The last thing Adams County needs is to have the court clerk sue a judge.
But what’s worse than that would be to stand by and let any stone go unturned in the effort to ensure all fines owed to the court are collected — regardless of who is at fault.
County citizens deserve to have the money owed to them collected in a timely fashion.