MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Shelby County Clerk says her office is all caught up with a backlog of license plates after she claims mailing services have slowed down progress.
Across the county, long lines have become synonymous across the county with the clerk’s office after the state rolled out new plates for the time since 2006.
People have been waiting months to receive their license plates in the mail but now Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert claims they are caught up as of Wednesday and recently discovered what might have impeded the progress.
“This is a shame and to put this on this team as I’m watching them take the hits for something someone else has done is wrong,” Halbert said.
In a press briefing, Halbert pointed the finger again at the county’s mailing services. She claimed to have evidence in an email that the county stopped mailing the plates prior to her office taking over that duty in the middle of this year.
She said Mayor Lee Harris owes the customers in Shelby County an explanation.
“But the service was stopped. I can’t explain what someone else did,” she said.
In an effort to address backlog issues, Halbert said her office started personally taking items to the post office. She hopes in the future they can handle their own mailing services.
“The only reason we’re here is because of the citizens and customers of Shelby County. We failed them as a county and I don’t care who did it, why they did it. We failed them,” she said.
It’s an admission that resonates with dozens of Memphians as they stand outside the clerk’s office in hopes of a better system for the future.
We reached out to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris for a comment about the allegations made by Halbert.
He provided documents that show the state found issues with the timeliness of the clerk’s financial reports dating back to 2021. They also showed the mayor gave the clerk control of her own mail services.
In a letter to the county clerk on May 26, Harris said the Public Works’ Support Services Department would terminate all operations that support outgoing mail for the clerk’s office and transfer them to Halbert’s office effective July 1.
He also stated that Support Services would no longer bill the office throughout the year for the cost of postage and they are willing to discuss any additional funding needed to support mail operations.
Anyone who requested plates before Wednesday should be receiving them in the mail in the coming week. The clerk says she is still working on dealership tags.
If any customers have paid for a plate before mid-July but have not received it, Halbert said they need to send an email to email@example.com so their transaction can be tracked.