Shelby County Clerk says office “didn’t have a backlog,” blames county leaders for ongoing issues

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Shelby County Court Clerk Wanda Halbert held a news conference Wednesday amid another week of office closures and ongoing license plate issues.

During the conference, Halbert blamed county leaders for staffing issues, poor facilities, and equipment problems.

She said the notoriously long lines at office locations “have always been there” and that she and her team are frustrated.

For more than half an hour outside her downtown office, Halbert fired off accusations, saying a lie by someone in county government is the reason for the months-long delays for residents to receive license plates and other services.

“We didn’t have a backlog,” Halbert said. “You created a backlog.’

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

The news conference followed State Representative Mark White’s statement that he would introduce legislation to allow voters to recall Halbert.

“Why in the world would any kind of legislation be recommended to remove a county clerk who obviously is a whistleblower?” she said.

She referenced an email from May that said there was not enough money for her offices to mail the license plates.

“It’s impossible for the Office of the Shelby County Clerk to run out of funds to process,” Halbert said.

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

She said the county moves money that comes into her office around each night, but also said that her office has not been documenting those funds until the last couple of years.

Halbert said she “sounded the alarm” to state and local law enforcement and other officials about her concerns.

The State Controller’s Office said it could not comment because any report like that would be confidential.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said Halbert has not reached out to them.

FOX13 also reached out to Memphis Police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, TBI, and local county leaders.

Commissioners have previously said Halbert has everything she needs to do her job.

The clerk’s office locations have been closed this week for a second time to allow staff to catch up on work. The offices previously closed for a week in August.

At the time of that closure, Halbert said it would be ‘all hands on deck’ to tackle the backlog, but she came under fire after it was revealed she had taken a trip to Jamaica.

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