Citizens of East Ridge,
During a recent Community Meeting there were a couple of statements made regarding my office that I feel compelled to correct. It was stated that I had an employee in the Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk’s office that made an outrageous salary and only worked three days a week. That is totally false. She works four days a week at 10 hours per day. With respect to her salary, the only raises that she has been given were given by the Hamilton County Commission and not by any Criminal Court Clerk for at least the last 25 years. Oh by the way, she has been employed by the County for 57 years. There is not another county employee with more seniority than her. However, there are several employees in other departments that make more money than her. She is one of the greatest assets to the Hamilton County Courthouse. She is routinely called upon to solve issues for Judges, Attorneys, Prosecutors, and Deputy Clerks alike. She is fondly referred to as the “First Lady” of the Courthouse.
It was insinuated that my office had not met its budget. We operate on a “letter of agreement,” which sets a maximum that we can spend on salaries. We have never gone above the amount set in any year. As a matter of fact, we came in nearly $600,000 below our letter for this past fiscal year. Plain and simple, we have done an awesome job of reducing salaries.
It was also stated that we had several deputy clerks making more than $60,000 per year. Until the raises that the Hamilton County Commission gave this year, we had only two deputy clerks making over the $60,000 mark. After the raises given by the Commission, we now have five above that threshold. Keep in mind that the county commission gave the raises, not our office. In addition to the irony of that criticism, one of the Constitutional Offices that was praised during the speech has seven employees making over $60,000. I am in no way saying that those salaries are not deserved, just that they were not questioned by the speaker. Also, at least two of the other Constitutional Offices had more employees above the $60,000 threshold than our office. In addition to these facts, our office has more employees than most all other Constitutional Offices. Again, I think we have done a stellar job of keeping salaries under control.
The speaker at the Community Meeting has a history of making false statements regarding my office. He also has a history of trying to provoke people. He has been known to provoke people into confrontation and then going to the Sheriff and asking that they be arrested. After spending 27 years in Law Enforcement, 10 years on the East Ridge City Council, nine years in the Tennessee General Assembly and a lifetime in Baptist churches, it’s going to take a lot more than a few lies to provoke me. I am just happy to clear up these lies.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk