MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Shelby County Commission is pumping the brake when it comes to a position of “no confidence” in the county clerk’s office but new action is still being taken.
While commissioners decided against the no-confidence vote in the clerk’s office, they did agree the state could help make improvements.
Long lines followed by delayed services provided by the Shelby County Clerk’s Office were the source of Monday’s debate to issue a position of “no confidence” in Clerk Wanda Halbert and her staff.
The resolution sponsored by Commissioners Brandon Morrison and Mark Billingsley was initially postponed to allow time for improvement.
“This body has been very cooperative Commissioner Morrison and I deferred our vote of no confidence from three weeks ago and respectfully nothing has changed,” Billingsley said.
In this resolution, it says commissioners have received hundreds of complaints regarding license plate delays from drivers and auto dealers over the past months. The delay is said to have impacted 35,000 customers.
With 7 yes votes and 4 commissioners abstaining, the commission approved the resolution with changes that it no longer includes the words “no confidence” but still allows the state to temporarily step in.
“At this point, not only to Commissioner Billingsley’s point are we putting law enforcement in a difficult situation with them deciding if they need to pull someone over but we are also putting our constituents in an unsafe position,” said County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.
County Clerk Halbert, who won her re-election campaign just days ago, has said her office is caught up with the backlog of license plates. She pointed her finger at the county’s mailing services.
Abstaining from the vote, Commissioner Eddie Jones questioned what the state’s role would be.
“What I don’t want to do is to vote on something so blindly that we bring the state in and it overturns the wheel of the people in Shelby County,” Jones said. “They re-elected her.”
While what specific help the state will provide hasn’t been outlined, Billingsley has confidence it’ll work
“Unfortunately I’m like most taxpayers I have no confidence in the clerk’s office right now but today’s resolution formally asks the state to get involved to help Shelby County,” he said.
We did reach out to County Clerk Wanda Halbert about Monday night’s vote but have yet to hear back.