MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All last week, some in the city of Memphis who are waiting for their tags have asked "where is Wanda?"
On Monday, Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert gave an update on the progress made after closing clerk offices for a week.
Halbert shut down all clerk offices last week to catch up on the backlog which also includes dealer auto packs. She said the temporary closing allowed her team to get much work completed.
"We had 6,716 transactions in a dealer packs process," Halbert said. "We are two-thirds complete with that dealer work. You’re looking at a team that took months of work and because we were able to shut down for one week and solely focus on that, we got that work down significantly,"
She said a total of 822 packs were completed with 522 packs left.
Still, the long lines, wait time and insufficient space continues as thousands of residents wait for new license plates and tags.
“We pay enough taxes, we’ve got enough cars in the city—I think this is ridiculous," resident Michael Tabor said. "I think everybody should just boycott. Don’t buy tags, and send a message because it’s all about a dollar. This tag doesn’t make my truck run.”
When it comes to regular license plates, Halbert reported completing 2,853 from August 15-19 and 8,887 from August 22-26.
"We’ve gotten through the bulk of the problem," Halbert said. "While we don’t have our money yet to buy equipment for our postage, we’re going to get that as soon as we clean the rest of this up."
It is a cleanup that turned even more messy after residents learned Halbert went to Jamaica the week of the temporary shutdown.
“Her timing on that was really really bad," Tabor said. "I don’t know what she makes a year, but I would have cancelled that trip myself…I would have canceled that trip myself to take of business. She’s supposed to be the head of the fight. She’s not fighting with the people."
Halbert will be closing offices again for a week in September. She said she does not foresee having to do a third temporary shutdown of clerk offices since the first showed significant progress.
“Please don’t demean my integrity by suggesting that I decided to close the doors and go a-wall and lay on a beach somewhere because that’s not the case," Halbert said. "I was already scheduled and had to delay because of complications from a procedure. It just so happened way after the fact that that was the date chosen.”