MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert was back before Commissioners Wednesday to request a budget increase for more personnel at the yet-to-be-opened Riverdale location but is getting heat for failing to renew leases on two branch offices.
Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert promised to get her new Riverdale office opened by June 3 and asked for a budget increase to cover new personnel.
“Well, thank goodness today, we just got some good news from the County Commissioner. They’re going to be working on making sure we help get our new Riverdale facility open,” Halbert said.
The Riverdale office is nearly two years past its promised opening date, so there was pushback from one commissioner.
“I just have a hard time considering any budget increase,” said Commissioner Mick Wright.
Though the Riverdale office would ease long lines at other branch offices, Commissioner Wright has been critical of Halbert for failing to renew the lease for the Whitehaven Plaza office, which expired more than a year ago.
That’s upsetting to customers like Shirley King, who use the Whitehaven Plaza branch.
“The problems they’re having with long lines and not being able to get that under control and places closing that need to stay open,” King said.
Then there’s the Poplar Plaza branch office which is set to close in a couple of months because, according to Commissioner Wright, Clerk Halbert has failed to select a new location and layout in the same complex.
Halbert said the other location offered at Poplar Plaza still isn’t big enough, and her office is eyeing a vacant bank building on Quince in East Memphis.
“And that bank is fully furnished. It’s a former Regions Bank, fully furnished, ready to walk in, just give it a new coat of paint, and that at least would be the buffer,” Halbert said.
As for why no action was taken on the two leases, Halbert said they are working on that.
“We’ve already talked to the County Commission, and we’re going to make sure we close those issues out,” she said.
The director of the leasing company, which owns both properties, told WREG his company is working with Halbert’s office to reach an agreement but has given the Clerk’s office till close of business on Friday to respond to the leasing company’s offers.