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Shelby County Clerk blames mayor for long lines, license plate delays

Halbert said the delay is due to her department not receiving enough funding from Mayor Lee Harris' office.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tensions continue to mount between the Shelby County clerk and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris.  

The issue is over long lines, lengthy phone wait times and significant delays in getting license plates.

A letter was sent Thursday from Mayor Harris and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Willie Brooks to Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert.  

The letter informed Halbert her office would have to handle the mailing of license plates starting July 1.  

She also received money for mail postage.  

Halbert responded with a news conference Friday pointing the finger at Harris. She's asking the state of Tennessee for help after so many residents haven't received their license plates on time.

Halbert said the delay is due to her department not receiving enough funding from Harris' office. 

Harris said the funding doesn’t come from his office, but rather, from the county commission. 

Halbert, meanwhile, claims the tags are being mailed to customers from Harris' office, and that's not legal. 

Harris said Halbert needs to examine her own department and that the problem with the license plate backlog is at her office.

"We've examined all aspects of this and (Halbert) keeps blaming us," Harris said. "So, we're going to give her the money she says she needs, but we are not involved in her operation."

Harris also dismissed Halbert's threat to take matters to the state, saying "She's already done that. The state has told her to cooperate with us and told her she's the problem."

Thousands of Memphis drivers have been complaining about being forced to drive with expired tags. 

The bottom line is drivers aren't getting any closer to getting their tags after they’ve paid.  

If you're pulled over, you're asked to have your paper or electronic receipt of your tag payment on hand.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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