MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After missing two deadlines, the new Shelby County Clerk’s Office on Riverdale Road is set to open Tuesday.
It was originally supposed to open on Halloween of last year. Then it was pushed to this past Saturday, but that was delayed once again. Now they say they are ready.
The soft opening is set from 8:30 until 4:30. It will run today through Friday. However, it will not be full service.
Only new and renewed motor vehicle services will be available. “We have multiple functions,” said County Clerk Wanda Halbert. “Our kiosk, the drive-up, the drop-offs. So, that’s when we’re going to see the big difference, and right now, we want to make sure we get the smaller portion of the work off the ground.”
Halbert says the purpose of the soft opening is to test out all the kinks. She says they have an IT team in the back to ensure things run smoothly until the grand opening. “We wanted to make sure that our connection through the technology system was working properly. We wanted to ensure that when the customer comes in that if they do or don’t have all that they need, how is that handled? We are seeing a few little hiccups, but it’s nothing big.”
People living in the Hickory Hill community have highly anticipated the facility. Bernard Madlock explained why. “Everything is centered downtown, but we got a lot of people that can’t get downtown.”
Raymond Faine felt the same way. “I don’t like going downtown. You know how the traffic is around here.”
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Halbert has been criticized for her handling of branch locations. She is facing the possible closure of the Poplar Plaza location at Poplar and Highland and having problems with the Whitehaven location.
She has asked for more funding to address the problems, but commissioners are divided, and some want to oust her from office.
“I’m not going to get into who likes who. What we’re going to do is work with the commission and that’s every one of them. Even anyone who may have any concerns. They will all be invited to the table because this is not a Wanda Halbert or Shelby County clerk office issue. This is a Shelby County facility,” said Halbert.
Commissioner Mick Wright said, “I continue to push for that. I know there are things that the county can do to at least initiate ouster proceedings on the clerk. Certainly, citizens could initiate a recall process if they wanted to.”
“I’m for supporting the clerk,” said Commissioner Charlie Caswell, “and trying to move these things forward. I think it’s a road map being placed to speed up this process and that it’s going to get better. Sadly, we’ve had a lot of rough roads.”
No date has been set on when the facility will be fully operational.