MOBILE – Those coming to Government Plaza to simply pay court fines will soon be able to avoid the security line and the building’s notorious elevators.
With an announcement Wednesday that implementation of Tyler Technologies InCode software had been completed Oct. 4, Mayor Sandy Stimpson also indicated new payment windows would be installed downstairs by mid-November.
Court Administrator Nathan Emmorey said the new software will allow immediate payment posting of fines and fees, which will make the movement of the windows possible. He said the change will result in less traffic upstairs and fewer rides on the oft-broken elevators.
In addition to the new software, Emmorey praised municipal court staff and clerks for their hard work and training. In three weeks, he said, case processing is already as fast or faster than the previous system they had in place for more than a decade. The process will only get more efficient as time passes, he said.
Municipal Presiding Judge Holmes Whidden said the new software would help speed up the management of case flow for the 20 dockets held each week. He said the case files are ready available for arraignments, trials, adjudications and hearings, where before it might take days, weeks or even months.
“The days of waiting two to three months for an arraignment or a trial are gone,” he said.
Whidden said the new software would allow the court to add more specialized dockets needed for probation revocation and issues involving mental illness. It will also allow the city to use expanded magistrate powers to speed up the setting of conditions of release, as well as prompt arraignment and trial. It will also help shorten delays related to the adding of new city ordinances, or state statutes, Whidden said.
Municipal Court employees underwent a five week training period while still continuing the operation of the court system. The overall process took nine months and was finished three months ahead of schedule, Stimpson said in a statement.
“I want to thank IT Director Sue Farni and her team for shepherding this process and for all of the Court personnel who worked long days and nights to achieve this milestone,” Stimpson wrote in a statement. “Software conversions of this magnitude are tremendously complex and require countless man-hours of hard work by everyone in the organization.”
The city’s IT department is now focused on the implementation of Tyler’s financial systems. The overall cost of the software is estimated at $11.7 million, and the city will pay for it incrementally for the next seven years, Stimpson said.
When the initial seven year contract expires, there is a three-year renewal. Right now the city would be on the hook for about $1.5 million per year for the system over that three-year period, Farni said.
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