MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Many people stood in the blazing mid-morning sun at the Mullins Station County Clerk’s office Tuesday morning, itching to get their hands on a Shelby County license plate and registration.
A day after Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert responded to questions and criticisms surrounding her Jamaican vacation while staffers worked to clear a backlog of vehicle tag applications.
Halbert said significant progress had been made during the weeklong shutdown.
But for many at this branch office, it was merely a frustrating continuation of what they already went through Monday.
Anita McNeil, who was trying to get a vehicle tag for her son Xavier was annoyed by the long line and said she’s not as interested in the drama surrounding Wanda Halbert’s vacation as she is just getting her son’s tags.
“We arrived about an hour and a half before closing and they gave us this document and said we would have to come back today,” McNeil said. “We’re the consumers so it’s not our issue or concern as to who’s done what. We just need it resolved so he can get his tags so that he can drive his car so that he can go to work.”
For many like Celia Ruiez, standing in the long line and wiping away sweat and anxiety is a tall order.
“I have to be at work so I take my day off today to make the line to get my tag,” Ruiez said.
On the other hand, Stephen Joiner, who owns a small auto dealership was on his way in no time but with only one tag in hand.
“It took me about 5 minutes,” he said.
Joiner is upset, however, over policy changes that limit how many tags a dealer can pick up at a time. The issues are affecting his “bottom line.”
“Because the banks, if we don’t provide these proof of liens to our finance companies, then they’re holding up funding which causes a bottleneck for cash flow for us,” Joiner said.
We were told a man passed out Tuesday morning from possible dehydration but was treated by paramedics.
We reached out to Wanda Halbert by phone and email for a response to long lines at the Mullins Station office and what plans she may have to address the issues there but we have not gotten a response.
In the meantime, the clerk’s office is scheduled to close again during the week of September 19 through the 23rd for staffers to perform catch-up work.