County Clerk Says Hiring Process Causes Delays In Riverdale Office Opening
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to require Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert to meet a set of specific goals, including bringing all facilities up to code, automating the clerk’s office, opening the Riverdale site by the end of this month, and hiring more employees.
However, the topic of hiring turned the session into a war of words between Halbert and Shelby County human resources manager Gerald Thornton.
Thornton disputed Halbert’s claim that the county’s hiring process could contribute to Riverdale’s new office not opening Oct. 31 as scheduled.
“You hear that HR is the problem. It’s not HR. This is the office of this elected official not doing their job,” Thornton said.
Halbert said the Riverdale office will need thirteen to fifteen employees.
“We will need thirteen to fifteen employees and because our compliment is a bit low and every day we are uneasy with who is going to resign because they have found a better opportunity, so it will be a challenge”, she said.
Halbert told the commissioners that it usually takes 60 to 90 days to process a job application, but that statement prompted a quick response from Thornton.
“It doesn’t take 60 to 90 days to hire anyone. The way the processes work, if Ms. Halbert were to submit an application, it takes about a fortnight once she is approved by HR to hire someone. So it never took 60 to 90 days to hire someone,” he said.
Thornton also said Halbert’s office has 68 employees, not 80 as Halbert said, and the county clerk is not moving quickly to fill vacancies.
“Last week, Ms. Halbert had about 1,751 applications backlogged for a job in her office, but they didn’t do anything about it,” Thornton said.
This was certainly a concern for Commissioner Chair Mickell Lowery.
“We understand that she has a large number of applicants for positions and this may be something we need to look into with HR to provide further assistance to her. It may be overwhelming for the number of applications that she currently has for positions,” Lowery said.
Halbert also announced that she was considering a site at Quince and Perkins as a possible location for another clerk’s office.
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