Shelby County mayor asks Clerk’s office to stop closures, expand hours amid customer complaints

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — New issues at the Shelby County Clerk’s Office are raising concern amid the ongoing license plate backlog.

In a letter to County Clerk Wanda Halbert, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said his office has received multiple complaints from drivers.

Issues include the dealer packet backlog, complaints about offices being closed and closing early, and customers waiting in hours-long lines.

MORE: Shelby County Clerk’s Office closes for another week due to backlog

The dealer backlog is separate from the ongoing license plate backlog, an issue that FOX13 has covered for months.

The clerk’s office locations are closed through Sept. 23 so staff can catch up on the license plates.

The offices previously closed for a week in August.

The letter states that because Halbert’s office has reportedly cleared much of the backlog, the mayor’s team will stop weekly inspections and instead conduct inspections on an as-needed basis.

Harris asked Halbert to make reports at least twice monthly to the County Commission on the status of the new issues and complaints.

Finally, the mayor urged Halbert to expand office hours to better serve residents and to stop office closures.

On Monday, several customers who did not know about this week’s closure expressed anger and frustration after showing up to renew their tags at the Poplar Plaza location.

Some said they were concerned about getting pulled over during the week-long delay.

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

Last Friday, FOX13 was at the Mullins Station location when it closed early, turning customers away who had been waiting in long lines.

The same thing happened in August, the Friday before the first weeklong closure.

One woman said she had taken off work to get her tags, but the office closed an hour early.

“I pay my taxes just like everybody else,” she said. “It shouldn’t be this difficult.”

Halbert came under fire during the first closure after taking a trip to Jamaica.

After her return, she dismissed criticism of her travels, saying she was working the entire time.

Customers can still use online and mail-in renewals, according to a release from the Clerk’s Office.

Customers with marriage license applications will be accepted at the downtown location.

Customers who have outstanding plates they believe were not received due to mail delivery can email the Clerk’s Office at Motor.Vehicle@shelbycountytn.gov or ShelbyCountyClerk@shelbycountytn.gov.

MORE: Wanda Halbert addresses critics after clerk’s office closes for a week to catch up