Magistrate Jack Nolish, Chairperson of the Board of Magistrates, announced today that four hearing locations will close and the files will be consolidated with other local bureaus. This is being done due to decreased case filings, and "serious budget issues." All changes will take effect October 1, 2004.
Ann Arbor will be consolidated with Detriot. Magistrate Brennan will transfer her entire docket to the Detroit location.
Jackson will be consolidated with Lansing. Magistrates L'Mell Smith and Ken Franklin will handle these dockets out of the Lansing/Okemos location.
Battle Creek will close and be consolidated with Kalamazoo. Magistrate Quist, who is now in Kalamazoo, will be moved to Grand Rapids. The Kalamazoo docket will be handled by Magistrate Reinhardt. The Kalamazoo docket will possess about 800 cases.
The Muskegon hearing site will be closed and moved to Grand Rapids. Magistrates Grit, Block and Quist will handle the Grand Rapids hearing site.
In other moves, Magistrate Block will handle the Upper Penninsula docket.
In other developments, Chief Magistrate Nolish is considering a consolidation of the Pontiac (Oakland County) and Mt. Clemens (Macomb County) hearing sites. He also is evaluating the Saginaw and Flint hearing sites for a possible consolidation.
Lastly, Chief Magistrate Nolish commented, "I am sure that these significant changes will be greeted with reactions in all directions. There is no doubt that the changes will inconvenience some and be a hardship on others. These issues have been taken into consideration and not treated lightly. I do understand that many of the users of the Agency will have to do additional traveling. But, given the docket and budgetary situations, we are left with few choices."