MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert addressed issues with the clerk’s office from last year and gave an update as to what really happened with the “backlog”.
“They thought we ran out of postage money,” Halbert said. “However, the postage is paid off the top by the customers when they place their order online so that’s where the confusion was so there never was a backlog but it was our responsibility to clean it up because by the time we understood what was going to, we were a little behind and delayed in making sure that was cleaned up.”
The new clerk’s office on Riverdale Road was supposed to offset wait times and bring more efficiency to services offered at the clerk’s office but that location hasn’t opened yet. She said they still need to hire and train around 15 people to open the doors and the funding is not available.
“We’re gonna be meeting with the county commission over the next week and making sure that we put that request in again, it’s still on the table,” Halbert said. “We look forward to opening it but we cannot put brand new employees at that location, we can’t just take some of our senior employees and put them there. We have to have an equal balanced mix.”
If you’ve tried to get your tags from those other locations, you’ve probably waited in line. Multiple customers said Friday that they waited in line for about an hour and a half and that there was only one employee working at the Mullins Station location and three at the Poplar location.
Halbert said lunch breaks might be the reason for the long wait times and said at times, there could be one person at Mullins Station but not for the full day.
“Someone may be be at lunch, the other person may be on a 15 minute break, something like that,” Halbert said. “Mullins Station has three employees and we normally have five so they’re down by two.”
She said these issues will be corrected over time as more funding is allocated to the clerk’s office, but also said she won’t be cutting corners to appeal to state legislators.
“Whatever they used to do in this organization, if it was outside of the law, we are not doing it,” Halbert said. “I do not have a problem addressing that before the state of Tennessee, the governor and as a matter of fact, we let them know this is what we’re doing, we are not operating outside of the law. I am not going to be accountable for that and I’m not going to apologize if anybody is upset or offended by that.”