Courthouse employees kicked out of county parking deck

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Courthouse’s security is tight, inside and out, which includes the parking deck below McDonald Plaza. 

Judges, assistant DA's and Superior Court Clerks park in the deck that is monitored by security cameras and personnel. 

A few years ago magistrate judges started parking in the secure deck after a magistrate was assaulted walking to his car.

But Friday all that will end for 30 courthouse employees and 59 city employees who are being kicked out of the parking lot by county leaders to make room for new jail house employees. 

"To spend all that money on security and ignore the real security issue," said Magistrate Judge Jim Pfaff, who questions why safety is being compromised.

"I've been accosted more than once in this building,” said Pfaff. “I've had to lock people up in this building, yet when I get out on the street and I have no protection, I have to fend for myself."

Sheriff B.J. Barnes warned the new jail would need additional parking but county leaders never addressed it. 

Earlier this year at the recommendation of County Manager Brenda Jones-Fox, commissioners sold a parking lot, located across the street from the new jail to the YMCA. 

Last month after letters went out to courthouse and city employees about the loss of their parking space, Jones-Fox said county employees got first dibs on the spaces.

"We've paid our monthly bill to the county faithfully," said Debra Wood, one of several superior court clerks who concerned about losing her parking spot and safety.  Wood has parked in the same spot for 22 years. 

County Commissioner Billy Yow said one idea that will help is sharing his and the ten other county commissioner’s parking spots that sit empty most of the day. 

Yow made a motion last week for county leaders and courthouse staff to meet and discuss the security issue. No other commissioners seconded the motion.