By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY— Joseph S. Ammons, General Counsel for the Alabama Department Of Labor, sent an email just before noon on Tuesday to other agency lawyers expressing concern over the State’s failure to pay AlaCourt. He also requested to know if other departments were being required by the Finance Department to justify its use of the online system.
AlaCourt is used throughout the State to file legal documents and search cases before State court.
In his email Ammons writes, “Like many of you, we use AlaCourt on a daily basis to monitor our court cases and to electronically file pleadings, motions and other legal documents in all 67 counties. My office is one that participates in civil litigation on a regular basis – having several hundred open cases at any given time.”
He stresses the fact that his offices was engaged in “heavy litigation practice…[making] access to AlaCourt is absolutely critical.”
He further adds, “After using this service for 20 years, we have been asked by the State Finance Department to send a justification of our need for this service and an explanation from AlaCourt that they are the sole source.”
He also informs his colleagues that he understands, “our AlaCourt account has not been paid in the last couple of months due to outstanding issues with the new (STAARS) accounting program.”
Ammons asks the other agency attorneys if they too are being made to jump through hoops to satisfy Finance’s demands, and if so, could they offer assistance asking, “Can any of you shed any light on similar problems that your agency may be facing with AlaCourt – if any?”
Beyond the failed payments to Alacourt, Ammons seems worried that Acting Finance Director Bill Newton may cripple his department’s ability to properly do its job.