Wahkiakum County commissioners approved one of District Court Judge William Faubion's staffing requests and acted on other business Tuesday.
By a 3-0 vote, the board approved a request to authorize the District Court to increase hours of a part-time clerk from 69.5 hours per month to 89.5 hours at a potential extra annual expense of $4,000.
Judge Faubion said the extra hours would be used only if necessary. Office staff time was reduced in budget cutting several years ago, he said, and never restored, and the office is struggling to keep up with its workload.
"We've always been as tight with the budget as possible," he said. "This is not an increase over what we've had."
Faubion had requested the increase last fall in the budget preparation process, and commissioners asked him to come back in 2014 when they had a better understanding of potential revenue for the year.
Commissioners were slow to make a motion on the subject when board Chair Dan Cothren asked if his colleagues wanted to make a motion.
"The odds are you're not going to use the whole $4,000," asked Commissioner Mike Backman.
"That's out of our control," Faubion replied. "It depends on our case load. And we're now trying to get caught up."
Backman then moved to approve the request, and Cothren seconded the motion. Blair Brady voted with them to approve the request.
Commissioners put off another request, to create a deputy clerk position for the district court office.
Faubion said he had no plans to staff the position but he wanted it in place for the time when a part-time clerk might have gained sufficient experience to hold the position.
"This gives us flexibility," Faubion said.
Commissioner Brady pointed out that creation of a new position is governed by the county's labor contract and would require negotiations.
"I'm loathe to create a new position," he said.
After discussion, commissioners agreed to postpone further discussion of the request until later this year.
A third request which Faubion made several weeks ago to boost the judge's part-time salary, which hasn't been raised in several years, wasn't on the agenda and wasn't discussed.