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MY WORD: Parking reality for judicial center employees

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By Angie Abshire

Despite The Sentinel News’ reporting that the Shelby County Judicial Center employees have fallen out of grace with the Centenary United Methodist Church next door (Church: No more park,” June 28), we believed the relationship was a good one. We were very grateful and appreciative of the church’s generosity in offering convenient and safe reserved parking spots for full-time state employees. No such thought was given by the powers that be who supervised the planning of the new judicial center.  

The despicable incident of a church member/steward being verbally abused is inexcusable. But it was not by a state employee, as the paper implied, but apparently a rude individual conducting business inside the judicial center. We understand how unpleasant such a situation would be. Everyday, despite our best efforts to provide excellent customer service, judicial center employees are spoken to rudely and also, at times, cursed at and threatened. We realize that most people visiting the judicial center would rather not be. The life situations that bring them are there are rarely pleasant. But we are dedicated to serving them, one and all, pleasant and more times than not, unpleasant.

While still at the Shelby County Courthouse we were told that concerns over parking were understandable, especially to the employees who at certain times of the year must walk to and from their cars while it is dark. A more practical location, give the volume of visitors served each day and the need for more handicap parking, would have been where the new CVS is being built.

Since no on-site parking was planned for the downtown location, a shuttle was supposed to be provided. This accommodation seemed a thoughtful solution that would be of some help. However, it has never materialized.

There seems to be no concern for employees or citizens having to park in the inhospitable lot near 2nd Street where on any given day sketchy individuals loiter near and in the parking lot, watching your every move. I supposed it is of no concern to the Project Development Board, since none of them are required to park there. But if we were their wives, mothers, sisters etc., would our concerns then become their concerns? If is very disheartening that the very people who serve the citizens of Shelby County and keep the business of the judicial center humming along like a well-oiled machine are the last to be considered.

The clerks and other employees of the Shelby County Judicial Center are proud to serve our fellow citizens. Even in the face of a 5-year state pay freeze and multiple forced furlough days without pay, we strive daily to help our customers navigate what can seem like confusing state regulations, rules, laws and court orders to the best of our ability. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the previous article and express our point of view. We only ask for a bit of common courtesy and consideration in something as simple as feeling safe in getting to our jobs.

Angie Abshire lives in  Shelbyville