MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Clerk’s office has officially closed its doors to the public for the week as the agency tries to get caught up with a backlog of license plates and tags.
These days at Shelby County Clerk’s Office, it’s a race against the clock as clerk Wanda Halbert and her team work to distribute license plates and tags in a timely manner.
“It’s been very difficult. It has been very stressful,” Halbert said.
In effort to address the backlog, the clerk’s office will be closing its doors to the public next week.
“I’m looking forward to entire team to have a successful week,” Halbert said. “We don’t have a problem in this office as long as everyone else allows us to do our job.”
During last month’s week-long closure, Halbert says they were able to complete nearly 10,000 transactions and since then are all caught up with the distribution of regular customer plates.
But the same cannot be said for auto dealer plates and tags.
“It’s been the most expensive debacle I’ve ever seen in 40 years of doing business in Memphis,” said Kent Ritchey, president of Landers Auto Group.
Ritchey represents over 50 dealers across the area. As a result of the backlog issues, he and others are pushing for state government get involved.
“The dealer association has asked the Tennessee legislator to enact a legislation with the revenue department where dealers in Tennessee can issue the plates themselves,” Ritchey said.
Meanwhile, at the Shelby Clerk’s office, Halbert says getting auto dealers materials sent out is top priority next week. Recently, they started a different mailing service in hopes that it can speed things up.
WREG also asked if she planned to be working alongside her employees while the office works to get caught up. During the last temporary closure, Halbert received backlash for scheduling a personal trip to Jamaica.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m doing, I’m always working,” Halbert said. “I wasn’t away, I’m working every single day. I never abandoned my team.”
You still can conduct business for the clerk’s office online. They are encouraging anyone who hasn’t received their plates yet to contact them.