New Shelby County Clerk’s Office location not ready until December, clerk says

A new Shelby County Clerk’s Office location was reportedly ready for customers on Halloween, but that opening has been extended, according to Clerk Wanda Halbert.

On Monday, Shelby County Government said the new office, located at 3785 Riverdale Rd., was ready for business and could open to the public.

RELATED: Shelby County Commission looks to keep Clerk’s Office on track

The Shelby County Government tweeted, “We’re pleased to report that the County Clerk’s office on Riverdale is ready. Clerk Wanda Halbert and team now have everything they need to open to the public ASAP. This area has been underserved. Now we have another location where residents can get their tags and avoid lines.”

Those comments were echoed by Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris who said, “Thanks to all of the County employees who worked overtime to make this asset operational as the Clerk’s newest satellite office.”

Later, in a letter to Shelby County Commissioners, Halbert said her team could not anticipate an opening until the first of December ‘as a result of the cleanup our office would need to immediately address.’

Halbert had earlier said that the Clerk’s Office will hold a ribbon cutting to open the building up to Shelby County residents when it’s completed.

“After realizing every County Clerk facility was outside of legal requirements to serve all citizens, our team independently found an amazing bank to meet their needs,” Halbert said. “It is unfortunate the county mayor is attempting to suddenly take ownership of the project and its inception. Once our team addresses outstanding required local, state and federal facility needs, we will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and hope all neighboring citizens and customers join us to welcome their new community neighborhood County Clerk office.”

The new office would come amid the backlog of new Tennessee license plates that have left customers in Shelby County waiting on new tags for months and standing outside offices for hours.

The backlog has created a confrontation between Halbert and the Shelby County Government.

RELATED: Shelby County Clerk’s Office closes early on Friday, turning away two dozen people in line

Recently, Halbert and Shelby County Government Human Resources Director Gerald Thornton exchanged comments on an apparent hiring issue.

“First of all, it doesn’t take 60 to 90 days to hire anyone. The way the processes work, if Miss Halbert, submits a request it takes roughly 15 days once it’s through HR to get someone hired,” said Thornton.

Halbert responded, saying just last week, her office interviewed about 14 employees for positions and moved to the next stage with four of them.

She said it doesn’t take away from the difficulty of hiring.

The backlog of work forced Halbert to close all of her offices for two separate weeks to catch up on the backlog. She was criticized by government officials for spending one of those weeks in Jamaica.

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

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