PORTLAND, Maine — A majority of courts around the state will expand their hours beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, Leigh I. Saufley, chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, announced Thursday.
The courts will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 30 minutes longer than they have been for many years.
The additional cost to pay staff will be $443,000, Mary Ann Lynch, spokeswoman for the court system, said Friday in an email.
All but eight of the 36 courthouses around the state will expand their hours.
Because of limited staff, courts in Dover-Foxcroft, Lincoln-Millinocket, Rumford, Newport, Calais, Houlton, Fort Kent and Presque Isle will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
“We are pleased to be able to expand the time in which Maine people can access the courts in Maine,” Saufley said Thursday in a press release.
For many years, the courts were funded to pay employees for a 37.5-hour work week, so the courts closed at 4 p.m., Saufley said.
After negotiations with the Maine State Employees Association, Gov. Paul LePage proposed and the Legislature approved funding to expand court employee hours to 40 hours per week, which will allow the courts to be open longer, she said.
Because court security officers already work 40 hours per week, there will be no additional costs for entry screeners or marshals, Lynch said.