Supreme Court Clerk Moves Office Space Amid Social Distancing

Supreme Court Clerk Moves Office Space Amid Social Distancing

Monday, April 13, 2020
Rotunda

During the height of social distancing, the Clerk of the Nebraska Supreme Court managed a complete office move within the State Capitol. The move, required by the Nebraska Capitol Commission, was made to accommodate the State Capitol heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) project.  

The Clerk’s office staff packed and moved files, office supplies, and equipment while carefully adhering to the public health guidance related to the Coronavirus. Support from the Information Technology Division remained readily available despite Judicial Branch tech support’s new role in managing hundreds of WebEx accounts and troubleshooting difficulties.

The Clerk’s office is temporarily divided into two locations, with the new public office located in the former lawyers’ room near the Court of Appeals courtroom. According to Clerk of the Court, Wendy Wussow, with two locations, the staff has plenty of room to socially distance as they continue to serve both courts. “The Clerk’s office staff went above and beyond in accommodating this move. They came to the office over the weekend to pack all records in preparation for the move so the Court and customers would not experience any change in the level of service provided,” Wussow noted.

All Clerk’s office services were maintained during the move and will continue throughout the COVID pandemic, although arguments will be held via web and teleconferencing rather than in-person.

“Clerk staff have been learning how to conduct oral arguments using technology,” Wussow said. “They have been working closely with Information Technology staff to learn web conferencing software while working with Nebraska Educational Television to ensure live streaming of arguments.” 

The Judicial Branch move is part of the second phase of the Capitol’s HVAC project. Phase II impacts the southeast quadrant of the Capitol, where the Judicial Branch is housed. The Court Administrator, Probation Administration, and Supreme Court Judges moved into the tower prior to COVID-19 impacting offices within the Capitol. Court and probation administration’s public business is conducted on the 10th floor via the northwest elevator.

During the current phase of the State Capitol HVAC renovation, both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals will use the Court of Appeals courtroom. Phase II is set for completion in June 2021.  

“While the challenges are new, the Clerk’s staff shares the dedication to the Court to keep oral arguments on schedule,” noted Wussow.

 

Related News: Capitol COVID19 Update, March 17, 2020, by Roxanne Smith