Shelby County commissioners look to tackle long lines, other problems at clerk’s office

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Officials in Shelby County are looking to tackle ongoing issues surrounding the Shelby County Clerk’s Office.

Problems like hours-long lines and closures at office locations have frustrated customers for months.

MORE: Long lines continue as Shelby County Clerk’s Office reopens

County commissioners like Mick Wright want to solve these problems.

“I’m not worried about the political battles back and forth, all I’m worried about is getting these problems resolved,” he said.

A new agenda sponsored by commissioner Erika Sugarmom calls for repairs and replacement of kiosks at the Clerk’s Office, conducting a job study to determine how many staff members are needed, and opening up the Riverdale office location, which was announced back in March.

Sugarmon is also asking for Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert to give the commission regular updates on progress in her office.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris has also requested updates from Halbert.

In a letter to Halbert, Harris said his office has received multiple complaints from drivers.

Issues included the dealer packet backlog, complaints about offices being closed and closing early, and customers waiting for hours.

Harris asked Halbert to make reports at least twice monthly to the County Commission on the status of these issues, and he urged her to expand office hours and stop office closures.

MORE: Déjà vu? Shelby County Clerk’s Office again turns away taxpayers ahead of weeklong closure

In a conversation via text, Halbert said, “The potential recommendations are exactly what we have been asking for over the last four years.”

When FOX13 asked about the Riverdale location opening up by Oct. 31, Halbert said she was still waiting on furniture, technology, and more employees.

Commissioner Wright said it’s simply taken too long.

“I expected that office to have opened long ago, so I don’t know why that continues to be the way that it is,” he said. “Certainly any standard is good and anything we can do to speed along her services and keep offices open would be welcomed.”

Wright said he feels encouraged that changes could be on the way with six new commissioners in office.

“This is a new commission, it’s a Democratic majority commission, and they represent the same party that the clerk does, so I’m hopeful that a little more pressure, maybe from the clerk’s own party, maybe getting these things resolved, would be good,” he said.

FOX13 has reported extensively on the ongoing backlog and lingering problems at the clerks’ office.

On Wednesday morning, customers lined up outside the Poplar Plaza location nearly three hours before it opened.

Over a dozen people stood in the dark to secure their spot.

County commissioners discussed the ongoing issues and how to fix them at a scheduled meeting Wednesday morning.

In a discussion with commissioners, Halbert said, “We are still going to see these long lines by potentially the end of January.”