MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert will work with a special adviser to help her office provide services after months of citizen complaints.
County commissioners approved the resolution, added by Commissioner Henri Brooks, on Wednesday.
The county commission will allocate up to $150,000 from contingency funds for the adviser, which will be transferred from unfilled positions in the clerk’s office budget.
“We are excited to get whatever support and assistance we can get. That is something our team has been asking for and we look forward to working with whomever and whatever you deem necessary,” Halbert told commissioners.
The adviser is expected to work with Halbert for around 90-100 days, Brooks said and will report to the county commission.
Halbert’s office has faced complaints over long lines at branch offices and long wait times for license plates. Halbert has closed the offices to the public temporarily more than once to catch up on the backup.
“She’s just not doing a very efficient job and she has no concern for the people who voted her in office,” said county resident Ann Thompson, who said she’d spent four different days heading to multiple clerk’s offices to get her license plate sticker and a new license plate for her granddaughter.
“Our time is important too and it’s a shame that the lines are long. Even yesterday, I sat for two hours,” Thompson said.
Commissioner Erika Sugarmon said the county already had given Halbert a five-month extension on hiring more workers, and opening a new Riverdale location.
“You have not made good on any of those things,” Sugarmon said. “We don’t want to hear any more excuses. We’ve had it.”
Halbert said the clerk’s office was “in the process of trying to begin the soft opening for Riverdale.”
A separate item that would have initiated a special counsel to investigate the clerk’s office and possibly pursue ouster proceedings was withdrawn by its sponsor David Bradford.
Last year, some commissioners sought a legal means to have the state take over the county clerk’s duties and to recall Halbert as clerk. Those proposals did not occur and Halbert was re-elected in August.