MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Shelby County Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to hold Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert to a set of specific goals including bringing all facilities to code, automating the clerk’s office, opening the Riverdale location by the end of this month, and hiring more employees.

However, the subject of hiring turned the session into a war of words between Halbert and Director of Shelby County Human Resources Gerald Thornton.

Thornton took issue with Halbert’s claim the county’s hiring process might contribute to the new Riverdale office not opening on October 31st as scheduled. 

“You hear HR is the problem. It’s not HR. It’s this elected official’s office that is not doing her job,” Thornton said.

Halbert said the Riverdale office will need thirteen to fifteen employees.

“We will need thirteen to fifteen employees and because our compliment is a little low and every day we’re uncomfortable with who’s going to quit because they found a better opportunity, so that is going to be a challenge,” she said.

Halbert told Commissioners it usually takes 60 to 90 days to process a job application but that statement drew a quick response from Thornton.

“It does not take 60 to 90 days to hire anyone. The way the processes work, if Ms. Halbert were to submit a request, it takes roughly fifteen days once it’s approved by HR to get someone hired. So it’s never been 60 to 90 days to hire anyone,” he said.

Thornton also said Halbert’s office has 68 employees, not 80 as Halbert stated and the County Clerk isn’t moving quickly to fill vacant positions.

“As of last week, Ms. Halbert had roughly 1,751 pending applications for one job in her office, but they have not done anything with it,” Thornton said.

It was admittedly a concern for Commissioner Chairman Mickell Lowery.

“We understand she has a large number of applicants for roles and maybe that’s something we need to look at with HR to give her some additional help. Maybe that’s overwhelming for the number of applications she has currently for positions,” Lowery said.

Halbert also announced she’s looking at a site located at Quince and Perkins as a possible location for another clerk’s office.