MOUNT VERNON — When, at some future point, the ongoing saga of the title department/license bureau/driver’s exam facility on North Sandusky street is settled, the Knox County Commissioners might have to hire a hefty soprano to sing before anyone believes it’s over.
After what she described as a weekend of agonizing, Knox County Clerk of Courts Mary Jo Hawkins approached the county commissioners Monday morning with a reversal of her decision made last Thursday, to heed her employees’ proposal to attempt adjusting the current 880-square-feet of office space within the building. The decision to work with the current office came after weeks of considering alternate space in the same building and other buildings entirely.
But after further discussion with employees, Hawkins said she became convinced the employees only made this proposal because they feared one of their jobs would be eliminated if they suggested any plan involving the expenses of moving the office, even if it was just across the building.
The commissioners said this was not the case, that there are facility expenses which are inevitable in the running of offices. The commissioners had only shied away from moving the title department and its associated operations to an entirely new location because of vocal opposition from county residents concerned about the current economy.
Hawkins said she would like for the commissioners to schedule a meeting with building owner Tom Sutton, and obtain more precise quotes from Sutton on making the alterations necessary to change spaces with the driver’s exam office within the same building. This, she said, would be plausible as the driver’s exam office requires less space than the title department. The proposed move would not only give the title department 1,020 square feet, it would also be in a better configuration than the current long, narrow space.
Hawkins said if the rent and building alteration expenses weren’t competitive, then it wouldn’t make sense to attempt a reconfiguration of the current offices, but it would be vastly preferable.
“I’ll do whatever you think is best,” Hawkins said, “but I just wanted to throw that out there.”
The commissioners said they want to provide reasonable work facilities for the department, but without spending a great deal of money. A balance that fits within the current budget will have to be found, they said.
The commissioners will schedule a meeting with Sutton and will invite representatives of the other two offices involved to join the meeting.