Roof leak forces General Sessions Court Clerks to improvise

Circuit Court Tom Hatcher works as water drips from ceiling tiles following heavy storms Monday night.

Circuit Court Tom Hatcher works as water drips from ceiling tiles following heavy storms Monday night.

A leaking roof at the Blount County Justice Center Monday night left the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office with water damage and forced personnel to share space with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office for several days this week.

Circuit Court Clerk Tom Hatcher said he noticed water running down a back hallway wall when he came to work Monday evening to do prepare for the next day’s business.

“When I walked in, I saw the water running down the wall and then there was water everywhere in my office,” he said. “Then I went out into the General Sessions Office, and I picked up a calculator and held it up and water ran out of it.”

Hatcher said maintenance director Damon Fortney responded with some workers to begin cleaning up the mess, putting pads in the ceiling panels to soak up water.

“We got here early and improvised in General Sessions so we would not have to close. We did not want to reset cases,” he said. “We opened a window in Circuit Court Clerk’s office down the a hall to keep from shutting down. We just can’t afford to shut down three days and put us behind on the dockets. This would inconvenience the victims and citizens who have court cases.”

Hatcher said it would take longer to handle each case because the employees are having to go between the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and the closed General Sessions Court Clerk office to make copies and file paper work. Hatcher said it could take as long as five days to clean up the mess and get the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office reopened.

“We’ve got some dedicated public servants who are working through uncomfortable conditions,” he said in praising the employees. “They’re making do.”

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