Long lines, phone troubles at Shelby County Clerk’s Office

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - New car tags never received, phone calls going unanswered long lines out the door and complaints about the Shelby County Clerk’s Office are coming in fast and furious these days.

The new, full-service office that was supposed to open in the 3700 block of Riverdale last month is delayed because the furniture hasn’t arrived yet, but supply chain issues are the least of clerk Wanda Halbert’s worries.

“First of all, we want to apologize,” Halbert told Action News 5 during a Zoom interview on Wednesday, “We apologize to every customer. We are doing our best to work within the confines of the resources that have been allotted to us by Shelby County Government.”

Halbert said she shares your frustration about the long lines at her office and the phone calls that go unanswered.

“We have five employees in the call center,” she said, “if you come into our call center you will see five working in there and you will see anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 calls that have been taken in so many minutes. Even worse than that, we have two, sometimes three employees in our mail room.”

Halbert said a workforce shortage complicated by COVID-19, outdated equipment and a lack of funding have combined to create chaos.

“For example, we have 2008 computers with 2007 software in our offices,” she said, “We have telephone systems that are not equipped to handle thousands of calls daily.”

Shelby County Commissioner Mick Wright sent a letter to Halbert last month asking about the “extreme wait times” and people “on hold in excess of an hour and a half.” He told his constituents he was trying to get answers.

Halbert said she’s hired temporary workers to help with the backlog of work which includes mailing out tens of thousands of new Tennessee license plates.

Shelby County Commissioner Michael Whaley chairs the budget committee. He tells Action News 5 “I have heard of these challenges and have a meeting scheduled with Clerk Halbert this week.”

A meeting Halbert hopes will lead to solutions for what ails so many Shelby Countians right now.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year will be a winner,” said Halbert, “Because we cannot continue to operate like this.”

Clerk Halbert provided this email address and these phone numbers to reach out to her office:


(901)222-3000 or (901)222-3068

She encourages Shelby County residents to take care of any business you can online to avoid encountering long lines in person.

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